Skip to main content

Full text of "The theological works of Isaac Barrow."

See other formats





Cambrilrp : 








(KDttco for tie <£gnt>kg of tjj* Sambctgftg ffim 














I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content 1 — 126 

of patience. 

1 Peter ii. 21. 

Because also Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example, that 

ye should follow his steps ..... 127 — 154 

(collated, with additions from ms.) 

bejoice evermore. 

1 Thessalonians v. 16. 
Rejoice evermore ........ 155 — 179 

[Second Sermon on the same Text. Incomplete; now 

first printed] ....... 179 — 195 


keep thy heart with all diligence. 

Proverbs iv. 23. 
Keep thy heart with all diligence . . . . . 196 — 236 

vi Contents. 



(collated, with ADDITIONS FROM MS.) 

the consideration op our latter end. 

Psalm xc. 12. 

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts 

unto wisdom ....... 237 — 271 



the consideration of our latter end. 

Psalm xc. 12. 

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts 

unto wisdom ....... 272 — 300 


the danger and mischief of delaying repentance. 

Psalm cxix. 60. 
/ made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments . 301 — 343 




Whatsoever thy handfindeth to do, do it with all thy might . 344 — 368 



Whatsoever thy handfindeth to do, do it with all thy might . 369 — 393 


of industry in our general calling, as christians. 

Romans xii. 11. 

Not slothful in business . ...... 394 — 417 

Contents. vii 





Not slothful in business ....... 418 — 452 


(collated, with ADDITIONS FROM MS.) 

the unsearchableness of god's judgments. 

Romans xi. 33. 

How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding 

out! 453 — 489 


op the goodness of god. 

Psalm cxlv. 9. 

The Lord is good to all; and his tender mercies are over all his 

works ........ 490 — 526 



Phil. IV. n. 

1 have learned in whatever state I am, therewith to be 

content a . 


N these words, by the example of an eminent seem. 
saint, is recommended to us the practice of an — - 

excellent duty, or virtue ; a practice in itself most 
worthy, very grateful to God, and immediately of 
great benefit to ourselves ; being, indeed, necessary 
towards the comfortable enjoyment of our lives : it is 
contentedness ; the virtue, which, of all other, doth 
most render this world acceptable, and constituteth 
a kind of temporal heaven b ; which he that hath, is 
thereby ipso facto in good measure happy, whatever 
other things he may seem to want ; which he that 
wanteth, doth, however otherwise he be furnished, 
become miserable, and carrieth a kind of hell within 
him : it cannot therefore but well deserve our best 
study about it, and care to get it ; in imitation of 
St Paul, who had learned in whatever state he was, 
therein to be content. 

In discoursing upon which words, I shall con- 
sider two particulars : First, the virtue itself, (con- 
tentedness in every state,) the nature of which I 

a 'Eyoi yap e/iadov, iv ois eiju, avrdpKTjs aval. 

b To 6' avrapnes ri0ep.ev, 6 p,ovovfievov, aiperbv ttouI rbv fiiov, Kai 
firjSevbs evbea. — Arist. Eth. I. 7. [7. J 

B. S. VOL. III. 1 

2 Of Contentment. 

seem, shall endeavour to explain; then, the way of attain- 

~— ' ing or producing it, implied by St Paul in the 

words, / have learned. 

I. For explication of the virtue : the word here 
expressing it is avrdpneia, which signifieth self-suffi- 
ciency, or having enough of oneself; the which is 
not to be understood absolutely", as if he took him- 
self to be independent in nature, able to subsist of 
himself, not wanting any support or comfort with- 
out himself, (for this is the property and privilege 
of the great El-shaddai, who alone subsisteth of 
himself, needing toward his being and felicity no- 
thing without himself; this is repugnant to the 
nature of man, who is a creature essentially depend- 
ent for his being and subsistence, indigent of many 
things for his satisfaction and welfare,) but rela- 
tively, considering his present state, the circum- 
stances wherein he was, and the capacities he had ; 
which by God's disposal and providence were such, 
that he could not want more than he had in his 
possession or reach. He meant not to exclude 
God, and his providence; but rather supposed that 
as the ground and cause of his self-sufficiency ; ac- 
i Cor. in. cording as otherwhere he expresseth it : Not as if we 
were sufficient of ourselves, hut our sufficiency is of 
God: nor did he intend to exclude the need of other 
creatures, otherwise than as considered without his 
possession, or beyond his power ; but he meaneth 
only, that he did not desire or lack more than what 
God had supplied him with; had put into his hand, 
or had set within his reach ; that his will did suit 
to his state, his desire did not exceed his power. 

"= To yhp tlBaipovovv &„i X tiv M irdvra & &\„, ntn^ptofiha nvl 
totxivai' oil fityor Sfl npoire'ivai avrai ov Xt/xoV. — Epict. Diss' III 

24. [17. J 

Of Contentment. 3 

This is the meaning of the word which the seem. 

Apostle useth : but for the more full and clear un- " 

derstanding the virtue itself, we shall first consider 
the object, about which it is conversant ; then the 
several acts, which it requireth, or wherein the ex- 
ercise thereof consisteth. 

i The object of contentedness is the present 
state of things, whatever it be, (whether prosperous 
or adverse, of eminency or meanness, of abundance 
or scantiness,) wherein by divine Providence we 
are set : Td ev oh ea/uev, The things in which we are ; 
that is, our present condition with all its circum- 
stances : so it may be generally supposed, consider- 
ing that it is ordinary, and almost natural for men 
(who have not learned as St Paul had done, or are 
not instructed and exercised in the practice of this 
duty) to be dissatisfied and disquieted in every 
state ; to be always in want of something ; to find 
defects in every fortune ; to fancy they may be 
in better case, and to desire it earnestly. If we 
estimate things wisely, rich men are more liable to 
discontent than poor men. It is observable, that 
prosperity is a peevish thing, and men of highest 
fortune are apt most easily to resent the smallest 
things : a little neglect, a slight word, an unpleasing 
look doth affect them more than reproaches, blows, 
wrongs do those of a mean condition. Prosperity 
is a nice and squeamish thing : it is hard to find 
any thing able to please men of full and prosperous 
state; their state being uncapable of bettering in 
substantial things, they can hardly find matter of 
solid delight. Whereas a poor estate is easily com- 
forted by the accession of many things which it want- 
eth : a good meal, a small gift, a little gain, or good 


4 Of Contentment. 

perm, success of his labour doth greatly please a poor 

_U ' man with a very solid pleasure : but a rich man 

hath nothing to please him, but a new toy, a puff 
of applause, success at a horse-race, at bowls, at 
hunting ; in some petty sport and pastime, which 
can yield but a very thin and transitory satisfaction 
to any man not quite brutified and void of sense 
whence contentedness hath place, and is needful in 
every condition, be it in appearance never so pro- 
jobxx.22. sperous, so plentiful, so pleasant. In the fulness of 
his sufficiency he shall he in straits. 

The formal object thereof may, indeed, seem to 
be a condition distasteful to our sense, or cross 
to our fancy d ; an adverse or strait condition; 
a condition of poverty, of disgrace, of any great 
inconvenience or distress incident to us in this 
world ; but since the most men are absolutely in 
such a condition, exposed to so many wants and 
troubles ; since many more are needy compara- 
tively, wanting the conveniences that others enjoy, 
and which themselves affect ; since there are few, 
who in right estimation are not indigent and poor, 
that is, who do not desire and fancy themselves to 
want many things which they have not, (for wealth 
consisteth not so much in the possession of goods, 
as in apprehension of freedom from want, and in 
satisfaction of desires,) since care, trouble, disap- 
pointment, satiety, and discontent following them, 
do not only haunt cottages, and stick to the lowest 
sort of people, but do even frequent palaces, and 
pursue men of highest rank ; therefore any state 
may be the object of contentedness ; and the duty is 

[Oi yap iv tji cjwiTfi tZv irpayfit'irav, air tv rf, tSiv dvdp, 
t<\ rqt tv6vfiias.\ — Chrye. ad Dcm. Ep. in. Opp. Torn vu. p. 08 


Of Contentment. 5 

of a very general concernment; princes themselves serm. 


need to learn it ; the lessons teaching it, and the ' 

arguments persuading it, may as well suit the rich 
and noble, as the poor and the peasant ; so our 
Apostle himself doth intimate in the words imme- 
diately following our text : I know both how to &ePhii.iv.i2. 
abased, and I know how to abound ; every where 
and in all things I am instructed both to be full, and 
to be hungry ; both to abound, and to suffer need : he 
had the art, not only to manage well both condi- 
tions, but to be satisfied in either. 

But seeing real adversity, poverty, and disgrace 
have naturally the strongest influence in disturbing 
and disordering our minds ; that contentedness is 
plainly most needful in such cases, as the proper 
support, or medicine of our mind in them ; that 
other states do need it only as they, by fancy or 
infirmity, do symbolize or conspire with these ; 
therefore unto persons in these states we shall 
more explicitly apply our directions and persua- 
sions, as to the proper and primary subjects of 
contentedness ; the which by analogy, or parity of 
reason, may be extended to all others, who, by 
imaginary wants and distresses, do create displea- 
sure to themselves. So much for the object, or 
the subject, of the virtue. 

2 The acts, wherein the practice thereof con- 
sisteth, (which are necessary ingredients, or con- 
stant symptoms of it,) belong either to the mind 
and understanding, or to the will and appetite, or 
to external demeanour and practice ; being, i right 
opinions and judgments of mind ; 2 fit dispositions 
and affections of heart ; 3 outward good actions 
and behaviours, in regard to our condition and the 

Q Of Contentment. 

serm. events befalling us ; the former being as the root 
XXXV1L an( j s tock, the latter as the fruits and the flowers 
of the duty : unto which may be reduced the corre- 
spondent negations, or absence, of bad judgments, 
affections, and deportments in respect to the same 

(i) As to our opinions and judgments of 
things, contentedness requireth, that, 

i We should believe our condition, whatever 

it be, to be determined by God ; and that all events 

befalling us do proceed from him ; at least that he 

permitteth and ordereth them according to his 

judgment and pleasure ; that, Svv rep 9e<£ ira<? kcu 

Lam. Hi. ye\a KwMperai* ; all, as the Prophet singeth, Both 

Amosm. 6. good and evil, proceedeth out of the mouth of the 

*^? 4 gsxii- Most High; that, Affliction, as Job said, cometh 

not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out 

of the ground ; as a thing arising spontaneously, or 

sowed by the hand of some creature ; but rather 

isai. xiv. 7. descendeth from him, who saith, I form the light, 

and create darhness ; I makepeace, and create evil; 

I the Lord do all these things. 

We are apt, when any thing falleth out Un- 
pleasant to us, to exclaim against fortune, and to 
accuse our stars f ; or to inveigh against the second 
causes which immediately offend us, ascribing all to 
their influence ; which proceeding doth argue in us 
a heathenish ignorance and infidelity, or at least 
much inconsiderateness, and impotency of mind ; 
that our judgment is blinded and clouded, or per- 
verted and seduced by ill passions ; for that, in truth, 

c .Soph. Ajax. [383.] 

1 Atquo deos atque astra vocat crudelia mater. — 

[Virg. Eel. v. 23.] 

Job v. 6. 


Of Contentment. 7 

there is not in the world any occurrence merely seem. 


fortuitous or fatal, (all being guided and wielded ' 

by the powerful hand of the All-wise and Almighty 
God,) there is no creature which in its agency doth 
not depend upon God, as the instrument of his 
will, or subordinate thereto ; wherefore upon every 
event we should, raising our minds above all other 
causes, discern and acknowledge God's hand : as 
David did, when Shimei cursed him ; Let him, * Sam. xvi. 
said the good king, curse, because the Lord hath 
said unto him, Curse David ; as Job did, when he 
was rifled of his goods, The Lord, said he, gave, Jobi. 21. 
and the Lord hath taken away ; as our Saviour did, 
when, in regard to the sore hardships he was de- 
signed to undergo, he said, The cup which my Johu xviii. 
Father hath given me, shall L not drink it f 

2 Hence we should always judge every thing 
which happeneth to be throughly good and fit, 
worthy (all things considered) to be appointed, or 
permitted by that Governor of things ; not enter- 
taining any harsh thoughts of God, as if he were 
not enough wise, just, or benign in ordering us to 
be afflicted or crossed ; but taking all occurrences 
to be well consistent with all God's holy perfections 
and attributes 5 . 

We are apt to conceit that the world is ill or- 
dered, when we do not thrive and prosper therein ; 
that every thing is irregular which squareth not to 
the models of our fancy; that things had gone 
much better, if our designs had found success : but 
these are vain and perverse conceits ; for thatj cer- 

g Hapa^a>pr](7a)ixcv tolvvv 7rapa.KaKS> ra> <xo(pa roC iravrbs KvftepvrjTT), 
Kai (TTcp£a>p.ev to oiKovopovp,eva, oirota ttot av 77, Kav Bv/xepT], Kqv 
\virr)pa. &c. — Theodor. Ep. cxxxvi. [Opp. Tom. 111. p. 1010 B.J 


xx. 19. 

8 Of Contentment. 

serm. tainly, is most good which seemeth good to God h ; 

xxxvu. hi ^ wm . g a perfect stan( j ar( i f right and conve- 
nience, his eye never aimeth wrong, his hand never 

rs. xsv. 10; faileth to hit the mark of what is best; All his 

" paths are mercy and truth; He is righteous in all 

his ways, and holy in all his works; so did king 

Hezekiah rightly judge, when, upon denunciation 

of a sad doom to his country and posterity, he 

1 Kings replied to the prophet; Good is the word of the 
Lord, which thou hast spoken; so even the Pagan 
Sage discerned, when he thus rebuked a malecon- 
tent; You slave, do you forsooth desire any thing, 
but what is best? and is not that only best, which 
seemeth best to God x ? 

3 We should even be satisfied in our mind, 
that, according to God's purpose, all events do 
tend and conduce to our particular welfare; being 
not only good to us as members of the world, and 
in order to more general ends, but serving towards 
our private benefit and advantage. We may be 
ready, perhaps, to confess, that whatever happeneth 
may be, indeed, just and fit in some distant and 
occult respects; but hardly can we be induced to 
allow, that what we feel offensive to our sense and 
fancy is really good for us, or was meant for our 
benefit ; we cannot easily discern any thing of love 
or favour in such matters : those sort of aphorisms, 

h Placeat homini, quicquid Deo placuit. — Sen. [Ep. lxxiv. 20.] 

Srepyeiv yap XPV r " ^ a P"- T 7* apprjrov aocptas Trpvravevopeva, Kai 

ravra Trdvrcos vopiCciv o-vptpepovra. Thcodor. Ep. XV. [Tom. III. 

p. 909 B.J 

O'Sc yap as aotpos to <rvp(pepov, ko.1 as dyadbs tovto fjpiv wpay- 
parevfTai. — -Id. Ep. XVIII. [Tom. III. p. 913 A.J 

' 'A.v8pdiro8ov, aXAo yap ti 0e\eis 77 to aptivov; a\\o ovv ti apeivov, 
r) to rco Gfc3 boKOVV ; — Epict Diss. [n. 7, 13.1 

Of Contentment. 9 

in holy scripture, Happy is the man whom God serm. 


correcteth ; As many as I love, I rebuke and chas- ' 

ten ; sound strangely, and are huge paradoxes to j^JgiV*' 
us: such is our blindness of mind, and dulness of Kev.iii.19. 

Frov. 111. 

apprehension: but God knoweth with so exact a 12. 
skilfulness to manage things, that every particular 
occurrence shall be advantageous to the person 
whom it toucheth ; and accordingly to each one he 
dispenseth that which is most suitable to him; 
whence, as frequently it is necessary for our good 
that we should be crossed, (for that, indeed, other- 
wise we should often much harm, sometimes we 
should quite undo, ourselves,) so it always, when 
God so ordereth it, is to be deemed most profitable 
and wholesome for us : we are therefore in reason 
obliged to take the saddest accidents and sharpest 
afflictions, coming upon us by Providence, to be no 
other than fatherly corrections, or friendly rebukes, 
designed to render us good and happy; as argu- 
ments therefore and instances of especial good- will 
toward us; conceiving under every dispensation 
that we do, as it were, hear God speaking to us, as 
he did to those in the Prophet; I know the thoughts, j er . xxix. 
that I think toward you, thoughts of peace, and not II ' 
of evil, to give you an expected end. 

4 Hence we are to believe, that our present 
condition (whatever it be to carnal or worldly 
sense) is in right judgment, all things considered, 
the best; most proper, most desirable for us; bet- 
ter than we, if it were at our discretion and choice, 
should put ourselves into: for that God (The iTim.ii.4. 
Saviour of all men, Who desireth that no man should xxx i;i. u. 
perish ; Who is good to all, and whose tender mercies p^txiv. 9'. 
are over all his works; who exceedingly tendereth 

10 Of Contentment. 

st- km. the welfare of his children and subjects) doth ever 

WW IT .. 

*_'__...'._: (here in this life, the time of merit and trial) with 
a most wise good- will design our best good; 
and by the most proper methods (such as do best 
suit our circumstances and capacities) doth aim to 
draw us unto happiness ; and accordingly doth as- 
sign a station for us most befitting in order to that 
great end : we therefore should think ourselves well 
placed, because we are where God doth set us; 
that we have enough, because we have what God 
allotteth us. 

There are other more particular judgments, 
which contentedness involveth, or which are re- 
quired toward it; such as these: that nothing 
originally is due to us, but all cometh purely from 
divine favour and bounty; that all adversities are 
justly and deservedly inflicted on us, as the due 
wages, or natural fruits of our sins ; that our hap- 
piness dependeth not on any present enjoyments 
or possessions, but may well subsist without them ; 
that a competency (or so much as sufficeth to 
maintain our life without intolerable pain) ought 
to satisfy our desires: but these and the like 
judgments will come opportunely to be considered 
as motives to the practice of the duty 

(2) From such acts of our mind, or intellec- 
tive part, concerning things incident to us, should 
proceed the following dispositions of will and af- 

1 We should entertain all occurrences, how 
grievous soever to us, with entire submission, and 
resignation of our will to the will of God; wholly 
acquiescing in his good pleasure; saying in our 

4 j u e xxii. } ieartg after Qur L()r ^ La nQt ^ ^^ ^ ^^ ^ 

Of Contentment. 11 

done; with good Eli, It is the Lord, let him do serm. 

• . . XXXVTI 

what seemeth him good; with David, Behold here I 

am, let him do to me as seemeth good to him; even i8. am ' m ' 
with Socrates, If so it pleaseth God, so let it be*; ^ 6 Sam ' xv * 
with Epictetus, / always chiefly will that which 
cometh to pass; for I account that better which God 
willeth, than what I will myself; I will adhere as a 
minister and follower to him, I pursue, I affect, I 
simply will with him 1 ; looking upon them as sent 
from God, we should heartily bid them welcome, 
we should kindly embrace them, we should use 
them with all fair respect: ' AcywaXeaOai rd avufiai- 
vovtci, (To hug, or kindly to embrace things incident,) 
Qikelv T(t a.Troveix6fieva, (To love things dispensed by 
Providence™,) are precepts, which even as dictated 
by natural reason philosophers do much inculcate. 

This excludeth all rebellious insurrection, and 
swellings of mind against Providence, such as 
argue that we dislike God's government; that, 
were we able, we should struggle with God's will ; 
that we gladly would shake off his yoke ; all such 
ill resentment and repining at our lot, which 
maketh God's hand grievous, and his yoke uneasy 
to us ; such affections as the Wise Man toucheth, 
when he saith, The foolishness of man perverteth Prov. xix. 
his way, and his heart fretteth against the Lord. 3 ' 

2 We should bear all things with steady 
calmness and composedness of mind, suppressing 
or quelling those tumults, those storms, those ex- 
cesses of passion, which the sense of things dis- 

Ei ravTTj rots 6eois (f>!\ov, Tavrrj earco. [Plato. Crito. 43 D.] 

'An p.a\\ov eKeivo 6e\a>, to yivopevov. KpelrTov yap r/yovpai, 6 6 

Qebs 6k\ei, rj iya. TrpexrKetVo/ifU diaKovos Ka\ aKo\ov8os (Keiva, arvvopjtSi, 

avvopeyofiai, aTr\S>s crvvdeXcu. Epict. Diss. [iV. 7. 20. J 

m M. Ant. in. $ 4, ii. § 17. x. § 11. xii. § 1. 

12 Of Contentment. 

serm. gustful is apt to excite; such as are immoderate 
XXXVIL gnef, fierce anger, irksome despair, and the like. 
No adversity should so ruffle our minds", as 
to defeat or pervert the use of our reason, so as 
to hinder us from perceiving or performing what 
becometh us, so as to engage us into any irregular 
or unseemly behaviour. 

3 We should, indeed, bear the worst events 
with an evdvula, that is, with a sweet and cheerful 
disposition of mind, so as not to be put out of hu- 
mour; not to be dejected or quite discouraged by 
Prov. xii. them , not to fall into that Heaviness, which, as the 
25 ' Wise Man saith, maheth the heart of man to stoop; 

but rather finding delight and complacence in 
them, as considering whence they come, whither 
they aim and tend : such was the disposition and 
demeanour of the apostles and primitive good 
Christians in the midst of their most grievous ad- 
Aots v. 4 i. versities and sufferings p ; They rejoiced that they 
were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name: 
Heb.x. 34. They did take joyfully the spoiling of their goods: 
James i. 1. They did account it all joy when they fell into divers 
1 Cor. vi. tribulations: they were, 'Q9 Au7roi/Vei'ot, del oe yalpov- 
tcs, As grieved, but always rejoicing; their state 
was grievous, but their heart was constantly cheer- 
ful. Such a constant frame of mind we should main- 
tain, so continually prepared we should be against 
all contingencies, that nothing should happen amiss 
to us, so as deeply to affect us, or to unsettle us in 

n Let no man be moved by these afflictions; MrjSeva &atvecr6ai (i. e. 
Bopv^elaSm. Chrys. [in locum. Opp. Tom. iv. p. 175.]) 1 Thess. iii. 3. 

11 fie tov Koajxov \vrrr] Qavarov Karepya^Tai. — 2 Cor. vii. 10. 

p EvSoko) iv acrOtvelais, iv vfipecriv, iv dvayKais, iv duoypois, iv 
(7Tfvo^o)piais vn€p XpiaTov. — 2 Cor. xii. 10. 

His ncurav vnopovrjv, nat panpoOvpiav ptra ^apas Col. i. 11. 

Of Contentment. 13 

our humour; that every thing from God's hand seem. 

should be acceptable ; that no sadness may seize on ' 

us, at least that we do not indulge or cherish it ; 
that in nowise we suffer any regret to quench that 
spiritual comfort and joy in God, which becometh 
the upright, as the Psalmist saith, and which we Ps. xxxiii. 
are so often enjoined perpetually to maintain, as phuTiv. 1 ^ 
in all cases, so particularly under afflictions and ^'dr. xiu. 
trials. "We cannot, indeed, hardly be content, if we jp et iy 
are not cheerful; for it is hard to be altogether on J 3- 
the suffering and bearing hand, without any plea- 
sure : the mind can hardly stand in a poise, so as 
neither to sorrow or joy; we cannot digest adver- 
sity, if we do not relish it ; we shall not submit to 
it as his will, if we do not take it for an argument 
of his love : Ei)<Wa>, /, saith St Paul, have a liking 2 Cor. x«. 
ox pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in neces- 
sities, in persecutions, in distresses/or Christ's sake; 
for when I am weak, then I am strong. 

4 We should with faith and hope rely and 
wait on God for the removal or easement of our 
afflictions; or, however, we should confide in him 
for grace, and strength to support them well ; as 
our Saviour did, when he prayed, Father, if thou Luke xxii. 
he willing, remove this cup ; as they did in the Pro- 4 ' 
phet, who said, In the way of thy judgments, O isai. xxyi. 
Lord, we have waited on thee; according to that 
rule in the Lamentations, It is good that a man Lam.iii.26. 
should both hope, and wait quietly for the salvation 
of the Lord ; and those precepts in the Psalms, 
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him; wait ^ s /™™' 
upon the Lord, be of good courage, and he shall**'* 1 - 1 '' 

■L ' J a 1/ ' xxxm. 20 ; 

strengthen thine heart. lxii.ijxxv. 

q ■ Ixix. * 

We should, in any case, be ready with the holy xvi. 8. 

14 Of Contentment. 

seem. Psalmist thus to interrogate and sustain ourselves : 


11^ ' Why art thou cast down, O my soul, why art thou 

Vs. xih. 5. so disquieted w ithin we? Hope thou in God; for I 
shall yet praise him, for the help of his counte- 

Remembering and considering, (that as we are 
expressly taught in Scripture, and as all our Reli- 
2 Pet. ii. 9. gion doth clearly suppose) God knoweth to rescue 
Matt.'vi.' th e godly out of tribulation; (he knoweth the 
1 Cor x n P ro P er season, when it is fit to do it;) that He is 
faithful, and will not suffer us to be tempted above 
what we are able ; but will with the temptation also 
make a way to escape, that we may be able to bear 
it; reflecting, I say, on these certain points of Chris- 
iThe=s.iv. tian truth, We should never sorrow as those who 
are without hope; we should never despair of a 
good riddance from our adversity, when it shall be 
iaai.xi. 31. seasonable or beneficial for us; we should always 
ic. mi. 7. k e assure( j f a comfortable support under it, 
which is usually better than deliverance from it ; our 
minds should never sink into despondency or discon- 
solateness : that this is practicable in the worst case, 
we have conspicuous instances to assure us; it hath 
been the practice of most illustrious and excellent 
persons, particularly of the holy Apostles; never 
was any condition, in outward respects and appear- 
ance, more forlorn and dismal than was theirs; 
yet it nowise bereaved them of hope or courage : 
sCor.iv. 8. We, they could say, are troubled on every side, yet 
i r . or ' 1V ' not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 
persecuted, but not forsaken ; cast down, but not 

5 We should indeed not so much as faint or lan- 
guish in our minds upon any such occasion ; no ad- 

Of Contentment. 15 

versity should impair the forces of our reason or seem. 

our spirit; should enervate our courage, or slacken — 

our industry ; should render us sick, or weak in 
heart; for, If, saith the Wise Man, thou faint in the p r ov.xxiv. 
day of adversity, thy strength is small, (it is the \°c OT . iv> 
sign of an infirm mind,) and, Mtj eKKaxelv, Not to ^ u 
falter or decay, M>? enXveaOai, Not to be dissolved, * Thess. 
or disjointed in our souls, (as the body is in Gai. vi. 9. 
scorbutic distempers,) are rules prescribed to us in 
such cases: we do then, indeed, need a firm and 
robust constitution of soul q ; we should then bear 
up most resolutely and stoutly: the encouragement 
of Moses to the people entering upon battle, may 
well be accommodated to us, in regard to our con- 
flict with adversities; Let not your hearts faint, Deut.xx.3. 
fear not and do not tremble, neither he ye terrified 
because of them. 

6 We should not be weary of our condition, 
or have irksome longings for alteration ; but, with 
a quiet indifferency and willingness of mind, lie 
under it during God's pleasure; according to the 
Wise Man's advice; My son, despise not the chas- T?rov. m. 
tening of the Lord, neither be weary of his correc- 
tion; and that of the Apostle, enforced by our 
Lord's example ; Consider him that endured such Heb. xii. 3. 
contradiction of sinners against himself lest ye be 
wearied and faint in your minds. We should not 
think God slow, or his time long and tedious, as if 
he were forgetful of us, or backward to succour 
us; as the Psalmist was inclined to do, when in 
the day of trouble he brake forth into these con- 
ceits and expressions : Will the Lord cast off for Ps. lxxvu. 

1, 8, 9- 

q Nunc animis opus — nunc pectore firmo. — 

[Virg. Mn. vi. 261.] 

16 Of Contentment. 

seem, ever, and will he he favourable no more? Is his 

-J 'mercy clean gone for ever, doth his promise fail for 

evermore f Hath God forgotten to be gracious ? 
hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies ? Thus 
he in a sad mood was apt to think and speak; 
but, recollecting himself, he perceived it was his 
error, and confessed it was his fault thus to 

ver. 10. imagine; I said it was mine infirmity; and it will 
be ours likewise, if we entertain such conceptions 
and resentments : we should with the same mind 
endure our present state, as we do pass through a 
hard winter, or a time of foul weather, taking it 
for seasonable and fit, because the wise Author of 
nature hath so appointed and ordered it. 

7 We should by adverse accidents be rendered 
lowly in our own eyes, and sober in our conceits of 
ourselves ; meek and gentle, tender and pliable 
in our temper and frame of spirit ; sensible of our 
unworthiness and meanness, of our natural frailty, 
penury, and misery, of our actual offences and mis- 
carriages ; deeply affected in regard to the awful 
majesty and power, to the perfect holiness and h ., 
strict justice of God ; they should quell our haughty f 
stomach, they should supple our stiff wilfulness, 
they should soften our hard hearts, they should 
mitigate our peevish humours : to effect these things 
is usually the design of such accidents, and it is 
ever the best fruit of them : this is that which St 

i pa. v. (,. Peter adviseth to, when he saith, Be humbled 
under the mighty hand of God; which God ap- 
proveth, and encourageth with a gracious promise, 

iwu.ixvi.2. when he saith, To this man will I looJc, even to him, 
that is of a poor and contrite spirit, and trembleth 
at my word: this disposition is an inseparable ad- 

Of Contentment. 17 

herent to contentedness ; tie that hath not his serm. 


spirit thus broken, or mollified, will hardly be con- 

tent in any state; he that is haughty in conceit, 
and sturdy in humour, will every where find that 
which will cross and disturb him. 

8 It is required that we should, notwith- 
standing any meanness, any hardness of our condi- 
tion, be meekly and kindly affected toward others, 
being satisfied and pleased with their more pro- 
sperous state 1 " We should not be angry with the 
world, because we do not thrive or nourish in it ; 
we should not be sullen or peevish toward any 
man, because his fortune is better than ours ; 
we should not repine or grudge at the good suc- 
cess of any of our brethren, because we want the 
like ourselves ; We should rather rejoice with those Rom. xii. 
that rejoice; innocently filching some pleasure from 
them, or borrowing some satisfaction from their 
enjoyments. It is humane thus to do, because of 
the natural cognation and friendship of men; it 
is more especially Christian, because of our spiritual 
consanguinity ; by virtue whereof we are so knit 
together, and made Members each to other, that If Rom. xii. 
as St Paul telleth us, one member suffer, all the i cor. xii. 
members suffer ivith it; and if one member be ho- 
noured, all the members should rejoice with it: we 
can hardly be content without thus appropriating 
the goods, and sharing in the delights of others : 
he can never be content, who looketh with an evil 
eye upon other men's prosperity; he cannot do well 

r Ita plerumque contingit, ut dum aliquos fratres nostros in 
quantulacumque requie constitutes, in mediis nostris anxietatibus 
cogitamus, non parva ex parte recreemur, tanquam et nos in ipsis 
quietius tranquilliusque vivamus. — Aug. Ep. cxlv. ad Anast. [Opp. 
Tom. ii. col. 470 b.] 

B. S. VOL. III. 2 

18 Of Contentment. 

serm. himself who loveth not to see his neighbour do 


! well; numberless occasions will happen to discom- 
pose and vex him. 

Adversity impatiently borne is apt to sour our 
spirits, and render us froward toward men ; especi- 
ally when it proceedeth from the unkindness, 
ingratitude, or treachery of friends, or of persons 
obliged to us for our good- will, or for benefits done 
to them: but nothing should render us unkindly 
disposed toward the world, nothing should extin- 
guish charity in us toward any man; so plain 
reason teacheth us, so great examples enforce: 
Moses did not lose his affection towards his 
countrymen, because he was by one of them threat- 
ened away into banishment and vagrancy; the 
apostles became not disaffected to the world, be- 
cause it misused and persecuted them; our Lord 
did continue most earnestly to desire, and labori- 
ously to endeavour the good of those who most 
despitefully used him: like theirs, in all cases, 
should our disposition be; we should ever observe 
p s . xxxvii. the Psalmist's advice ; Cease from anger, forsake 
wrath, fret not thyself in anywise to do evil. Again, 
9 Contentedness doth imply a freedom from 
all solicitude and anxiety of mind, in reference 
to provision for our needs, and conveniences of 
i Pet. v. 7. life ; according to those rules and precepts of cast- 
5; 3 'i * X *™' m g our burden and care upon the Lord, of being 
Phil. iv. 6. care f u l f or nothing, but commending our affairs to 
God's ordering ; according to that most comfortable 
Matt. vi. precept of our Lord, Take no care, saying, What 
31 ' shall we eat? or, What shall we drink ? or, How 

shall we he clothed? for your heavenly Father knoweth 
that ye want all these things. If we do not thus, it 

Of Contentment. 19 

is hardly possible that we should be content: if we seem. 


do not depend upon Providence, we cannot escape — 

being often distracted with care, and perplexed with 
fear; we cannot . cheerfully hope for anything we 
need, nor be quietly secure of any thing we possess. 
10 It requireth also, that we should curb our 
desires, and confine them in the narrowest bounds we 
can ; so as not to affect more in quantity, or better 
in quality, than our nature and state do require: 
if we must have superfluities, if we can only relish 
dainties, we shall never be pleased 8 ; for as nature 
hath limits, and is content with little*; as there is no 
state in this world, the exigencies whereof may not 
be answered with a competence ; so curiosity is 
an infinite and insatiable thing: He that lovethplea- Prov - xxii - 
sure shall be a poor man; he that loveth wine and 
oil shall not be rich; that is, he which is curious and 
nice in his desires will never have enough: the 
rule, which, according to St Paul, should regulate 
our desires, is this ; Having food and raiment, let i Tim. vi 
us with them be satisfied: if this will satisfy us, we 
may easily obtain satisfaction" : a moderate industry, 
with God's blessing, will procure so much; God 
hath promised to bestow it ; if this will not suffice, 
there is no sure way of getting or keeping more : 
as God is nowise obliged to provide us superfluities, 
or concerned to relieve our extravagant longings; 

s 'Hfiiora jroXvreAei'crs a.Tro\avov<Tiv ot tfiacrTa ravrrjs Seo/ievoi 

Epic, ad Mencec. [Diog. Laert. x. 27, 130.] 

Ventre nihil novi frugalius. — 

Juv. Sat. v. 6. 

At Kara cpvviv opei-eis avrapKelq irtpwpi^ovTM. Clem. Alex. 

Psed. ii. [Opp. Tom. i. p. 175.] 

u Si ad naturam vives, nunquam eris pauper ; si ad opinionem, 
nunquam dives. — Epic, apud Sen. Ep. xvi. [6.] 


20 Of Contentment. 

serm. go we may fear, that Providence will be ready to 

Across us in our cares and endeavours tending to 

those purposes; so that we shall be disappointed in 
the procurement, or disturbed in the fruition of 
such needless things. However, he that is most 
scant in his desires, is likely to be most content in 
his mind : He, as Socrates said, is nearest the gods 
(who need nothing) that needeth fewest things*. 

ii In fine, contentedness doth import, that, 
whatever our condition is, our minds and affections 
should be modelled and squared just according to 
it; so that our inclinations be compliant, our de- 
sires be congruous thereto ; so that easily we can 
comport with the inconveniences, can relish the 
comforts, can improve the advantages sticking 
thereto ; otherwise, like an ill-made garment, it will 
sit unhandsome upon us, and be troublesome to us. 
It is not usually our condition itself, but the unsuit- 
ableness thereof to our disposition and desires, 
(which soureth all its sweets, and rendereth its ad- 
vantages fruitless,) that createth discontent; for 
although it be very mean, others bear the same 
cheerfully ; many would be glad thereof: if there- 
fore we will be content, we must bend our inclina- 
tions, and adapt our desires to a correspondence 
with our state. 

If we are rich, we should get a large and 
bountiful heart, otherwise our wealth will hang 
loose about us; the care and trouble in keeping it, 
the suspicion and fear of losing it, the desire of 
amplifying it, the unwillingness to spend or use it, 
will bereave us of all true satisfaction therein, and 

x ['Eyci 8e vofilfa to fih fir]8fvos 8e«rdai Otlov dvai, to 8' coy tXa- 
x'io-tuiv eyyvTara rov 0eiov. Xon. Mem. I. 6. 10.] 

Of Contentment. 21 

render it no less unsavoury to us, than unprofitable seem. 

j_ 1 1 XXXVII. 

to others. 

If we are poor, we should have a frugal, provi- 
dent, industrious mind, sparing in desires, free 
from curiosity, willing to take pains, able to digest 
hardships ; otherwise the straitness of our condition 
will pinch and gall us. 

Are we high in dignity or reputation? we then 
need a mind well ballasted with sober thoughts, 
otherwise the wind of vanity will drive us into 
absurd behaviours, thence will dash us upon disap- 
pointments, and consequently will plunge us into 
vexation and discontent. 

Are we mean and low? we need a meek and 
lowly, a calm and steady spirit; not affecting little 
respects, or resenting the want of them ; apt to pass 
over or to bear quietly petty affronts and neglects ; 
not apt to be moved by words signifying contempt 
or disdain; else (being fretted with such things, 
which in this ill-natured and hard-hearted world 
we may be sure often to meet with) we shall be 
uneasy in our minds, and impatiently wish a change 
of our state. 

These and the like dispositions and affections 
of soul this duty containeth or requireth: from 
hence should arise a correspondent external de- 
meanour, and such actions as these which follow : 

i We should restrain our tongues from all 
unseemly and unsavoury expressions, implying dis- 
satisfaction in God's proceedings, or displeasure at 
his providence; arguing desperation or distrust in 
God ; such as were those of the discontented and t, , 

Jrs. lxxvm. 

impatient Israelites; They, saith the Psalmist, T 9- 
spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a 5. 

22 Of Contentment. 

seem, table in the wilderness? Behold, he smote the rock, 

LL1 ' that the waters gushed out, and the streams over- 
flowed; can he give bread also, can he provide flesh 
for his people? Such as they used, of whom the 

isai.iii.21. Prophet saith, When they shall be hungry, they will 
fret themselves, and curse their King and their God; 
as those in the Apocalypse, who, being afflicted 

Rev. xv 1.9, with deserved judgments, Did blaspheme the name 
of God, which had power over those plagues — blas- 
phemed the God of heaven, because of their pains 
and their sores. Into such profane enormities of 
language is discontent apt to break forth, ques- 
tioning the power of God, or his willingness to 
succour us ; venting wrath and displeasure toward 
him ; charging him foolishly with injustice, or with 
unkindness, or with negligence, or with impotency ; 
the abstaining from which behaviour, under the 
sense of his bitter calamities, is a great commenda- 

job i. 17. tion of Job ; In all this, it is said, Job sinned not, 
neither charged God foolishly" 1 

2 We should, indeed, forbear any the least 
complaint or murmuring, in regard to the dispensa- 
tions of Providence ; or upon dissatisfaction in the 
state allotted us : St Jude saith, that God in the 

Judei 5 ,i6. i as t day will come, To execute judgment, and to 
convince men of all their hard speeches, which un- 
godly sinners have spoken against him : These, sub- 
join eth he, are yoyyvarra}, nen^/'iixoipoi, murmurers, 
that complain of their lot; which signifleth the 
heinousness and extreme dangerousness of this 

Lam. iii. practice. Wherefore doth the living man complain? 

y Oi/K e'ScoKfj/ dfppotrvvrjv r<5 Geo). Job i. 22. LXX. 

AaX e^e ciyrj fxiidov, eniTp€\lrov Se ffeoitri. 

Horn. Od. xix. [502.] 

Of Contentment. 23 

is the prophet's question, implying it to be an un- serm. 

reasonable and blameable practice. Wherefore the - 

advice of David is good ; to suppress all complaint, 

to be still and silent in such cases : Be still, saith p s . xivi. 

he, and know that I am God; and, Be silent to the x°xviL ?■ 

Lord; the which precepts his practice may seem xxxlx-9- 

well to interpret and back; 7" was, saith he, dumb; 

I opened not my mouth, because it was thy doing: 

and accordingly Job, Behold, (said he, after having Job xi. 4- 

considered all the reasons he could imagine of 

God's proceedings,) / am vile; what shall I answer 

thee ? I will lay my hand upon my mouth 1 

3 Yea it is our duty, in these cases, to spend 
our breath in declaring our satisfaction in God's 
dealing with us ; acknowledging his wisdom, justice, 
and goodness therein; blessing and praising him 
for all that hath befallen us a ; each of us confessing 
after David, I know, Lord, that thy judgments are Ps. cxix. 
right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me; 
imitating Job, who, upon the loss of all his goods, 

did say no more than this; The Lord gave, and the Job *• 2I - 
Lord hath taken away; blessedbe the name of the Lord. 

4 We should abstain from all irregular, un- 
lawful, and unworthy courses toward the removal 
or remedy of our needs or crosses, choosing rather 
to abide quietly under their pressure, than by any 
unwarrantable means to relieve or relax ourselves ; 
rather bearing patiently than violently, like those 

in the Prophet, breaking our yoke, and bursting Jer - v - 5- 

Haa^tv akyea 7roXXa, /3i'as virobeyii.evos av8pa>v. 

Horn. [Od. xin. 309.J 
Ao£a T(5 QfiM iravrcav ?veK€V. Ov yap Traixropai tovto iiriKeyatv 
ad eVc nacri poi rots o-vnjitaivovcri. — Chrys. ad Olymp. Ep. XI. [Opp. 
Tom. vn. p. 90.] 

24 Of Contentment. 

seem, our bands. Take heed, regard not iniquity; for 


' £7ws 7ias£ £/ww. chosen rather than affliction. We 

2°. XXXV1 ' should rather continue poor, than by cozenage or 
rapine endeavour to raise our fortune; we should 
rather lie under disgrace and contempt, than by 
sinful or sordid compliances strive to acquire the 
respect and favour of men; we should rather will- 
ingly rest in the lowest condition, than do as those, 
who, by disturbing the wprld, by fomenting dis- 
orders and factions, by supplanting their neigh- 
bour's welfare, by venting slanders and detractions, 
do labour to amplify their estate : we should rather 
endure any inconvenience or distress, than have 
recourse to ways of evading them disallowed by 
God; doing as the Jews did, who in their straits,; against the declared pleasure of God, Set their faces 
isaLxxjf 2; toward Egypt, Strengthened themselves in the strength 
xxxi"i. 6 ' of Pharaoh, Trusted in the staff of that broken reed. 

Ezek. xvii. j n ne glect or diffidence toward God, to embrace 

15. & . . ' 

such aids, is, as God in the Prophet declareth, a 
Hos. vii. very blameable and mischievous folly : Ephraim, 
"' I3 ' saith he, is like a silly dove without heart; they call 
to Egypt, they go to Assyria — Woe unto them, for 
they have fled from me; destruction unto them, be- 
cause they have transgressed against me. We may 
consider how St Paul reproveth the Corinthians 
for seeking a redress of wrong, scandalous and dis- 
1 Cor. vi. honourable to the Church : Now, therefore, it is 
utterly a fault among you, that ye go to law one 
with another ; Why do ye not rather take wrong f 
why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be de- 
frauded? Even to right ourselves in a way where- 
by any dishonour may come to God, or damage to 
his Church, is not to be approved; and better it is, 

Of Contentment. 25 

in the Apostle's judgment, to bear any injury or seem. 

damage to ourselves : Better it is, saith St Peter, if " 

the will of God be so, that we suffer for well doing, ] 7; t^. 1 ig. 
than to do ill. And, Let them, who suffer according 
to the will of God, commit the keeping of their souls 
to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator, is 
another wholesome advice of that great apostle. 

5 We should, notwithstanding any adversity, 
proceed in our affairs (such as God requireth, or 
reason putteth us upon) with alacrity, courage, and 
industry; performing however, so far as our cir- 
cumstances do permit, what is good and fit for us : 
no disappointment or cross, no straits or grievances 
of condition, should render us listless or lazy, but 
rather it should quicken and inflame our activity; 
this being a good way to divert us from the sense 
of our misfortunes, and to comfort us under their 
pressure ; as also the readiest way to remove or to 
abate them. To irapov ev 0ea9at, To order the present 
well 13 , whatever it be ; to make the best of a bad 
matter, to march forward whither reason calls, how 
difficultly soever, or slowly it be, in a rough or 
dirty way ; not to yield to difficulties, but resolutely 
to encounter them, to struggle lustily with them, 
to endeavour with all our might to surmount 
them c ; are acts worthy of a manly reason and 
courage : to direct ill accidents to good ends, and 
improve them to honest juses, is the work of a 
noble virtue. If a bad game be dealt us, we should 

b M. Ant. vi. § 2. 

Kepbavreov to napov <xvv tvkoyiuTia. — Id. IV. § 26. 

To napbv p.6vov dntvdvvrjs TTpbs ocnoTtjra kcu 8iKaioo~vvrjV. Id. 

XII. § 1. 

Tu ne cede malis ; sed contra audentior ito. 

[Virg. Mn. vi. 95.] 

26 Of Contentment. 

seem, not presently throw up, but play it out so well as 

' we can ; so perhaps we may save somewhat, we 

p s . xxxvii. shall at least be busy till a better come. Put thy 
3 " trust in the Lord, and be doing good, is the 

Psalmist's advice in such a case; and it is a prac- 
tice necessary to the procuring and maintaining 
content ; if we be not otherwise well employed, we 
shall be apt, in our thoughts, to melancholize, and 
dote upon our mischances, the sense of them will 
fasten upon our spirits, and gnaw our hearts. 

6 We should behave ourselves fairly and 
kindly toward the instruments and abettors of our 
adversity; toward those who brought us into it, 
and those who detain us under it, by keeping off 
relief, and those who forbear to afford the succour 
we might expect; forbearing to express any wrath 
or displeasure, to exercise any revenge or enmity 
toward them; but rather, even upon that score, 
bearing good-will, and expressing kindness toward 
them ; not only as to our brethren, whom, according 
to the general law of charity, we are bound to love, 
but as to the servants of God in this particular 
case, and the instruments of his pleasure toward 
us; considering, that by maligning or molesting 
them, we do express ill resentments of God's deal- 
ing with us, and, in effect, through their sides, do 
wound his Providence : thus did the good king be- 
i Sam. xvi. have himself toward Shimei, when he was bitterly 
reproached and cursed by him ; not suffering (upon 
this account, because he was God's instrument of 
afflicting himself) that any harm should be done 
i Cor. iv. unto him : thus the holy Apostles Being reviled, 
J2 ' I3 ' did bless: being defamed, did entreat: thus our 
Lord demeaned himself toward his spiteful adver- 

Of Contentment. 27 

saries; Who, when he was reviled, did not revile seem. 

again; when he suffered, he did not threaten; hut ' 

committed it to him that judgeth righteously. In all 2 3 ; e iii" 9 . 
these cases we should at least observe the rules 
and advices of the Wise Man: Say not, I will do Prov.xxiv. 
so to him as he hath done to me; I will render to the 2g ' xx ' 22 ' 
man according to his work; say thou not, I will re- 
compense evil; but wait on the Lord, and he shall 
save thee. 

Discontent usually consisteth not so much in 
displeasure for the things we suffer, as at the per- 
sons who bring them on us, or who do not help to 
rid us from them ; it is their presumed injury or dis- 
courtesy which we do fret at : such passions there- 
fore toward men being discarded, our evils presently 
will become supportable, and content easily will 
ensue. As men in any sickness or pain, if their 
friends are about them, affording comfort or assist- 
ance, do not seem to feel any thing, and forbear 
complaining ; so, if the world about us doth please 
us, if we bear no disaffection or grudge toward any 
person in view, our adversity will appear less 
grievous, it will, indeed, commonly be scarce sen- 
sible to us. 

In these and such like acts the duty and virtue 
of contentedness doth especially reside; or it is em- 
ployed and exercised by them : and so much may 
suffice for the explication of its nature. 

II. I come now to consider the way of attain- 
ing it, intimated by St Paul here, when he saith, 
/ have learned. 

These words signify how contentedness may be 
attained, or how it is produced : it is not an endow- 
ment innate to us; it is not injected by chance 

28 Of Contentment. 

serm. into us; it is not to be purchased by any price; it 

— - ' springeth not up of itself, nor ariseth from the 

quality of any state ; but it is a product of disci- 
pline ; 1 have learned. 

It is a question debated in Plato, El SiSciktov r\ 
apery, Whether virtue be to be learned®; St Paul 
plainly resolveth it in this case by his own experi- 
ence and testimony. Wbat Seneca saith in general 
of virtue, Nature giveth not virtue; it is an art to 
become good e , is most true of this virtue; it is an 
art, with which we are not born, no more than 
with any other art or science; the which, as other 
arts, cannot be acquired without studious applica- 
tion of mind, and industrious exercise: no art 
indeed requireth more hard study and pain toward 
the acquiry of it, there being so many difficulties, 
so many obstacles in the way thereto : we have no 
great capacity, no towardly disposition to learn it; 
we must, in doing it, deny our carnal sense, we 
must settle our wild fancy, and suppress fond con- 
ceits; we must bend our stiff and stubborn inclina- 
tions; we must repress and restrain wanton desires ; 
we must allay and still tumultuous passions; we 
must cross our humour and curb our temper : which 
to do is a hard chapter to learn; much considera- 
tion, much practice, much contention and diligence 
are required thereto. 

Hence it is an art which we may observe few 
do much study; and of the students therein few 

d [Plat. Menon.] 

e Non enim dat natura virtutcm ; ars est bonura fieri. — Sen. 
Ep. [xc. 44.] 

Virtus etiamsi quosdam impetus ex natura sumit, tamen por- 
ficienda doctrina est. — Quintil. xn. 2. [l.J 

Of Contentment. 29 

are great proficients; so that, Qui fit, Mcecenasf seem. 

Horace's question, How comes it to pass, that no ' 

body liveth content with the lot assigned by God f f 
wanted not sufficient ground. 

However, it is not, like the quadrature of the 
circle, or the philosopher's stone, an art impossible 
to be learned, and which will baffle all study : there 
are examples, which shew it to be obtainable ; there 
are rules and precepts, by observing which we may 
arrive to it. 

And it is certainly a most excellent piece of 
learning; most deserving our earnest study: no 
other science will yield so great satisfaction, or good 
use ; all other sciences, in comparison thereto, are dry 
and fruitless curiosities ; for were we masters of all 
other knowledge, yet wanted the skill of being con- 
tent, we should not be wise or happy; happiness 
and discontent are aaixnara, (things incompatible). 

But how then may this skill be learned? I 
answer, chiefly (divine grace concurring) by these 
three ways, i By understanding the rules and 
precepts, wherein the practice thereof consisteth. 
2 By diligent exercise, or application of those rules 
to practice; whereby the habit will be produced. 
3, By seriously considering, and impressing upon 
our minds those rational inducements (suggested 
by the nature and reason of things) which are apt 
to persuade the practice thereof. The first way 
I have already endeavoured to declare; the second 
wholly dependeth upon the will and endeavour of 

f [Qui fit, Maecenas, ut nemo, quam sibi sortem 

Seu ratio dederit, seu fors objecerit, ilia 
Contentus vivat? 

Hor. Sat. i. 1. 1.] 

30 Of Contentment. 

serm. the learner: the third I shall now insist upon, pro- 


' pounding some rational considerations, apt, by- 
God's help, to persuade contentedness, and serving 
to cure the malady of discontent. They may be 
drawn from several heads; from God, from our- 
selves, from our particular condition or state ; from 
the world, or general state of men here; from the 
particular state of other men in comparison to 
ours; from the nature and consequences of the 
duty itself; every thing about us, well examined 
and pondered, will minister somewhat inducing 
and assisting thereto. 

i Sam. iii. I. In regard to God we may consider, that 
equity doth exact, and gratitude requireth, and 
all reason dictateth, that we should be content; or 
that, in being discontented, we behave ourselves 
very unbeseemingly and unworthily, are very unjust, 
very ingrateful, and very foolish toward him. 

i Equity doth exact this duty of us, and in 
performing it we act justly toward God, both ad- 
mitting his due right, and acknowledging his good 

Matt. xx. exercise thereof; that saying in the Gospel, Is it 
not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own ? 
is a most evident maxim of equity : it is therefore 
the natural right and prerogative of God, as the 
Creator and Preserver, and consequently the abso- 
lute Lord, Owner, and Governor of all things, to 
assign his station, and allot his portion to every 
person, as he judgeth good and convenient ; it is 
most just, that inviolably he should enjoy this right : 
he being also infinitely wise and good, it is like- 
wise most just to acknowledge, that he doth per- 
fectly well manage this right. Now by contentful 
submission to God's disposal of things, we do 

Of Contentment. 31 

worthily express our due regard to both these, serm. 


avowing his right, and approving his exercise 

thereof; but by discontent and regret at what 
happeneth, we do, in effect, injure God in both those 
respects, disavowing his right, and impeaching his 
management. We do thereby so renounce his 
right, as (so far as conceit and wish do reach) to 
invade it, and usurp it to ourselves; signifying, 
that in our opinion things ought not to be ordered 
according to his judgment and pleasure, but after 
our fancy and humour; we claim to ourselves the 
privilege of controlling his estate, and dispensing his 
goods, so as to be our own carvers, and to assume 
to ourselves so much as we think good ; we imply, 
that, if we were able, we would extort the power out 
of his hands, and manage it ourselves, modelling the 
world according to our conceits and desires. 

We do also, (since we cannot but perceive the 
other attempt of dispossessing God to be frivolous 
and fruitless,) in effect, charge God with misde- 
meanour, with iniquity or infirmity in his distribu- 
tion and disposal of things ; intimating, that in our 
opinion he doth not order them so justly or so 
wisely as might be g , (not so well as we, in our 
wisdom and justice, should order them ;) for did we 
conceive them managed for the best, we could not 
but judge it most unreasonable to be aggrieved, or 
to complain; so heinously insolent and unjust are 
we in being discontent. In earnest, which is most 
equal, that God should have his will, or we ? For 
shame, we shall say, God: why then do we not 
contentedly let him have it 1 

s Multos inveni sequos adversus homines; adversus Deos ne- 
minem. — Sen. Ep. xcm. [1.] 

32 Of Contentment. 

serm. It is indeed, if we consider it, the highest piece 

' of injustice that we can be guilty of, exceeding that 

which we commit in any other sort of disobedience. 
For, as in any state seditious mutining is the great- 
est crime, as most directly violating the majesty, 
and subverting the authority of the prince ; so in 
the world none may be supposed more to offend 
and wrong its sovereign Governor, than such male- 
contents, who dislike and blame his proceedings : 
even a Heathen h could teach us, that it is our duty 
to subject our mind to him that administereth all 
things, as good citizens to the law of the common- 
wealth; if we do not, we are rebellious and sedi- 
tious, which is the highest pitch of injustice toward 
our most gracious Sovereign. 

Again, there can be no greater injury or affront 
i John v. offered to God, than to give him the lie, by ques- 
tioning his veracity or fidelity; this discontent 
plainly doth involve : for God hath expressly de- 
clared himself ready upon all occasions to do us 
Matt. vi. good ; he hath promised to care for us, and never 
Heb^xiii.5. to forsake us, or leave us destitute ; which word of 
his if we did not distrust, and take him to be un- 
faithful, we could not be discontent : as no man 
is displeased with his condition, or suspicious of 
want, who knoweth that he hath abundant supply 
of all he can need in a sure place; that he hath a 
person most able, most willing, most faithful, en- 
gaged to succour him ; so, did we believe God to 
be true, who hath promised to help us, we could 
not be discontented for fear of any want. 

We must at least, in so doing, suspect God to 

h Tr)i> avTOV yvmfirjv vTTOTeraxe ™ dioiKown to. oXa- KaOdncp oi 
(iyadoi ndhlrai r«j> vo/up rrjs ir6kea>s. Epict. Diss. I. 12. [7.1 

Of Contentment. 33 

be deficient in goodness toward us, or unwilling to seem. 

help us ; or we must apprehend him impotent, and " 

unable to perform what he would, and what he 
hath promised for us, (like those infidels, who said, 
Can God furnish a table in the wilderness f can he Ps. lxxviii. 
give bread also, can he provide flesh for his 
"people f) which conceits of God are also very un- 
worthy, and injurious to him. 

2 Gratitude requireth of us this duty : for we 
having no right or title to any thing ; all that we 
have coming from God's pure bounty; he having 
upon us all (whatever our condition comparatively 
is, or may seem to us) freely conferred many great 
benefits, common to all men among us, (our being, 
life, reason, capacity of eternal happiness, manifold 
spiritual blessings, incomparably precious and ex- 
cellent,) we in all reason should be thankful for 
these, without craving more, or complaining for the 
want of other things' Whereas also all events, 
how cross soever to our sensual conceits or appe- 
tites, are by God designed and dispensed for our 
good, gratitude requireth that we should thank 
God for them, and not murmur against them. 

Surely if, instead of rendering God thanks for 
all the excellent gifts which he most liberally 
(without any previous obligation to us, or desert of 
ours) hath bestowed on us, and continueth to 
bestow, we fret, and quarrel, that he doth not in 
smaller matters seem to cocker us, we are ex- 
tremely ingrateful and disingenuous toward him. 
If any great person here should freely bestow on 

1 Iniquus est, qui muneris sui arbitrium danti non relinquit; 
avidus, qui non lucri loco habet quod accepit, sed damni, quod 
reddidit. — Sen. Consol. ad Polyb. cap. xxix. [2.J 

B. S. VOL. III. 3 

34 Of Contentment. 

seem, us gifts of huge value, (high preferment or much 
XXXVIL wealth,) but with good reason, as we might pre- 
sume, should withhold from us some trifle that we 
fancy or dote on, should we not be very unworthy, 
if we should take it ill and be angry with him for 
that cause? The case is plainly the same: God 
hath in the frankest manner bestowed on us 
innumerable and inestimable goods, in comparison 
whereto any comfort or convenience of our state 
here is very trivial and despicable: are we not 
therefore very ingrateful, if we heinously resent the 
want of any such things; if, upon any such ac- 
count, we disgust his providence ? Do we not deal, 
beyond all expression, unworthily with God, in so 
much undervaluing the goods which he hath given 
us, or doth offer us, and hath put in our reach 1 He 
hath made us capable of the greatest goods ima- 
ginable, and faithfully upon easy terms proffereth 
them to us ; he even tendereth himself (himself, the 
immense and all-comprehending good, the fountain 
of all joy and bliss) to be fully enjoyed by us : his 
wisdom he offereth, to instruct and guide us; his 
power, to protect and guard us; his fulness, to 
supply us; his goodness, to comfort us; he offereth 
his love and favour to us, in having which we 
virtually and in effect have all things ; becoming 
thereby, in the highest degree, rich and honourable 
and happy: and is it not then outrageous un- 
worthiness to prize any other thing (any petty ac- 
commodation of this transitory life, any pitiful toy 
here) so much, as to be displeased for the want 
thereof; as if all this were not enough to satisfy 
our needs, or satiate our desires; as if, notwith- 
standing all these immense effusions (yea as it 

were profusions) of bounty upon us, we could be seem. 


Of Contentment. 35 

of bounty upon us, we could be 
indigent or unhappy? Shall we, to use that holy 

i , • • i i • o t i • Job ii- io. 

and most ingenuous consideration ot Job, receive 
so much good from the bountiful hand of God, and 
shall we not contentedly receive or bear so small 
evils from, him? Evils, indeed, in name and to 
gross sense, but not so in reality, not so in effect, 
at least not so in God's design k ; but rather things 
very convenient and profitable for us; which is 
another aggravation of our ingratitude ; for 

Are we not also very ingrateful in misappre- 
hending and disliking that, which God doeth out 
of very gracious intentions toward us 1 ; in loathing 
his fatherly and friendly dispensations; the fatherly 
chastisements and friendly disciplines, which he 
unwillingly is forced (is, I say, forced by his own 
great love and by our pressing needs) to inflict or 
impose upon us ? Surely our ill opinion of, or Prov. in. 
despising, as the Wise Man calleth it, these un- 
pleasant blessings is no small fault; neither will 
our not discerning (out of affected dulness and 
stupid pravity not discerning) the wisdom of God's 
methods, and the wholesomeness of the means he 
useth to better us, excuse us from foul ingratitude. 

3 Again, upon many accounts, reason fur- 
ther dictateth in respect to God, that we should be 
content : because it is most reasonable to acquiesce 
in God's choice of our state, he being infinitely 
more wise than we, and infinitely better under- 

~E,v)(apicrTa> o~oi, a Tlarep, TroiTjTa tg>v o~a>v avdpcoircov, Kai 7rai- 
8evra, otl kcu aKovras ev notels, &c. said Philagrius in a grievous 

disease Greg. Naz. [Ep. xxxrv. Opp. Tom. n. p. 31 b.J 

'ETT€i8ri yap to fir] iraar^eiv ovm e^o), tovto ye t<3 iraax^iv Trapa- 
KepSalva), to (pepeiv, ko) t6 evxapio-Ttiv. — Greg. Naz. de se. [Ep. xxxvi. 
Tom. ii. p. 32 a.J 



36 Of Contentment. 

seem, standing what is good for us than we can do m ; 

1-". '. because he is well affected to us, and more truly 

loveth us than we do ourselves"; because he hath a 
just right, and irresistible power to dispose of us, 
the which (whatever we can do, however we resent 
it) he will effectually make use of; whence it is 
extremely foolish to be discontent : foolish it is to 
be dissatisfied with the results of his wisdom, ad- 
hering to our vain apprehensions; foolish to dis- 
trust his goodness in compliance with our fond 
self-love; foolish to contest his unquestionable 
right and uncontrollable power, having nothing 
but mere impotency to oppose against them; no 
less than downright madness it is to fret and fume 
at that which we can nowise help , to bark at that 
which lodgeth in heaven so far high above us, to 
solicit deaf necessity with our ineffectual wailings; 
for if we think that our displeasure will affect God, 
that our complaints will incline him to alter our 
condition or comply with our wishes, we do con- 
ceit vainly, and without any ground ; sooner may 
we, by our imagination, stop the tides of the sea, 
or turn the streams of rivers backward ; sooner, by 
our cries, may we stay the sun, and change all the 
courses of the stars, than by our passionate resent- 
ments or moanful clamours we can check p the cur- 

m Evx^to npos tovs Oeovs aTrKms rayaSa ti&ovai, a5y roits 6eoi>s KaX- 
Xto-Ta d8oTas, oTroia ayaOd tori. — Xenoph. de Socr. [Mem. i. 3. 2. J 
Carior est illis homo, quam sibi. 

[Jut. Sat. x. 350.] 
'Ear re Kkair/g av re pf], iropevo-trai. 

Philemon. [Frag. Sard. p. 380. Ed. Meiuek.] 
Oi yap tis npij^is neXerai Kpvepolo yooto. 

Horn. II. xxiv. [524.] 
2v 8' fiK avayicT}, km 6?eoi<ri py pa^ov. 

Eurip. [Frag. Inccrt. xxx. l.J 

Of Contentment. 37 

rent of affairs, or alter that state of things which is seem. 

by God's high decree established : discontented be 

haviour will rather fasten our condition, or remove 
it into a worse place ; as it highly doth offend God, 
and increaseth our guilt, so it moveth God to con- 
tinue, and to augment our evils. Thus lifting up 
our eyes to heaven, and considering the reference 
our disposition and demeanour hath to God, will 
induce us to bear our case contentedly. 

II. Again, reflecting upon ourselves, we may Lam.iii.39. 
observe much reason to be content with our state ; 
in whatever capacity we look upon ourselves, it in 
reason becometh us, we in duty are obliged to 
be so. 

As men and creatures, we naturally are indi- 
gent and impotent ; we have no just claim to any 
thing, nor any possession maintainable by our 
power ; all that we have, or can have, cometh from 
most pure courtesy and bounty; wherefore how 
little soever is allowed us, we have no wrong done 
us, nor can we justly complain thereat : such beg- 
gars as we are must not pretend to be choosers; 
if any thing be given us, we may be glad, we 
should be thankful. It is for those who have a 
right and a power to maintain it to resent and ex- 
postulate, if their due be withheld : but for us, that 
never had any thing which we could call our own ; 
that have no power to get or keep any thing; for 
us, that came into the world naked and defenceless, 
that live here in continual, absolute, and arbitrary 
dependence for all our livelihood and subsistence, 
to contest with him that maintaineth us, or to com- 
plain of his dealing, is ridiculously absurd and vain. 
Upon a moral account we have less reason to 

38 Of Contentment. 

seem, challenge ought, or to complain of any thing; for 

' we deserve nothing but evil : if we rightly esteem 

and value ourselves, any thing will seem good 
enough for us, any condition will appear better 
than we deserve : duly examining the imperfections 
and infirmities of our nature, the disorder and 
depravedness of our hearts, the demeanours and 
enormities of our lives, we cannot but apprehend 

Matt. xv. that we are even unworthy of the crumbs which 
fall from our Master's table; we cannot but ac- 
knowledge with the good Patriarch, that we are 

Gen. xxxii. less than the least of God's mercies. Considering 
our natural unworthiness, we shall see that we 
deserve not so much as those common benefits 
which all men enjoy, and without which we cannot 
subsist; so that, in regard to them, we shall be 

Ps.cxiiv.3. ready to acknowledge with the Psalmist, Lord, 
VU ' I/ ' what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him; or 
the son of man, that thou mahest account of him! 
Trying our hearts and examining our ways, we 
shall soon discover it to be abundant mercy, that 
we are not utterly deprived of all good things, 
stript of all comforts, yea, dispossessed of our very- 
being and life itself; that we are obliged to ac- 

Lam. iii. knowledge, with those in the Lamentations, It is 
of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, be- 
cause his compassions fail not. "Were we far better 
than we are, yet it would not become us to contest 
with him, to whose disposal and judgment we are 

job be. subject ; as Job teacheth us: Behold, saith he, God 

12 ~ I5 ' taheth away, who can hinder him? who will say 
unto him, What doest thou? If he will not with- 
draw his anger, the proud helpers^ do stoop under 

q KiJtij. LXX. 

Of Contentment. 39 

him. How much less shall I answer him, and seem, 

choose out my words to reason with him ? Whom, ' 

though I were righteous, I would not answer, but I 
would make supplication to my Judge : but for us, 
men so unrighteous and guilty, to debate with, to 
question the proceedings of our Judge, it is much 
more unseemly. 

Nothing can be more absurd, than for men so 
deeply indebted, than for sinners so very obnoxious 
to wrath, to be aggrieved in any state: shall we, 
who are conscious to ourselves of so many great 
sins against our God ; who, by wilful transgressions 
or slothful neglects, have so much affronted and 
offended him ; who have so little requited his love, 
and so much abused his patience ; who have borne 
so little fruit, and rendered him so little service; 
shall we be angry that our humour is not pleased 
in all things ? Shall we affect to swim in plenty, 
to wallow in pleasure, to bask ourselves in ease ; to 
be fed with dainties, to be gaily clothed, to flourish 
in a brave and splendid condition, to be worshipped 
and honoured ; who deserve not the meanest com- 
petence or lowest respect, to whom it is a great 
favour that we are permitted to subsist, whom 
strict justice would often have detruded into utter 
misery and disconsolateness? It is not surely for 
such persons to be dissatisfied with any thing in 
this world, but to bless God's exceeding mercy that 
they abide there on this side of the bottomless pit ; 
it is their part, with most submissive patience, to 
bear whatever is inflicted on them, humbly saying 
with him in the Prophet, 1 will bear the indignation Mic vii. 9. 
of the Lord, because I have sinned against him. 
Seeing, whatever our crosses or sufferings be, we 

40 Of Contentment. 

serm. cannot but confess to God, with those in Ezra, 

111 1 Thou hast punished us less than our iniquities de- 

Ezr ai x.i 3 . serve . being gainers upon the matter, having so 
much of our debt remitted in effect; being, in com- 
parison to what was due to us, very tolerably, yea 
very favourably dealt with, why should we be dis- 
satisfied ? If in such cases men should deal so 
favourably with us, we should be much pleased, 
and ready to thank them; why then should we 
take it ill of God, when he, even in his hardest 
proceedings against us, expresseth so much indul- 
gence and mercy? 

If we must be displeased, and lust to complain, 
we have reason much rather to accuse ourselves, 
than to exclaim at Providence ; to bewail our sins, 
than to deplore our fortune; for our evils are not 
Lam. iii. indeed so much the voluntary works of God, Who 
3 ' doth not afflict willingly, or grieve the children of 

men, as the natural products of our sins r , which we 
do wilfully commit : it is, as the Prophet speaketh, 
Jer. v. 25. our sins that withhold good things from us, and 
Ps. cvii. bring evil things upon us: Fools, because of their 
transgression, and because of their iniquities, are 
afflicted. We make adversity necessary, or ex- 
pedient for us, then we cry out upon it : we labour 19; in planting, but cannot brook the fruit of our 
xHI'h;' doings ; we, like prodigals, fling away our estate in 
xxxii. i 9 . wanton profusion then complain of want; we af- 
fect and choose the causes, but loathe and cannot 
abide the certain consequences; so fond in our 
conceits, so perverse are we in our affections: 
Lam. iii. Wherefore doth the living man complain for the 

AvOaiptra ir^ara. [Carm. Pythag. 54. J 

Of Contentment. 41 

punishment of his sins? so well might the prophet seem. 


demand and expostulate. - 

We may further, looking on ourselves, con- 
sider ourselves as servants to God, or rather as 
slaves, absolutely subject to his disposal; and shall 
any servants, shall a mere slave presume to choose 
his place, or determine his rank in the family? 
Shall he appoint to himself what office he will 
discharge, what garb he shall go in, what diet he 
must have; what he will do, and how he shall be 
accommodated? Is it not fit that all these things 
should be left to our Master's discretion and plea- 
sure? It is most reasonable that we should tho- 
roughly acquiesce in his determination: even a 
Pagan philosopher could teach us that this is rea- 
sonable, who thus piously directeth his speech to 
God ; For the rest use me to what thou pleasest. I 
do consent unto thee, and am indifferent. I refuse 
nothing which seemeth good to thee. Lead me 
whither thou ivilt; put on me what garment thou 
pleasest. Wilt thou have me to he a governor or 
a private man, to stay at home or to be banished 
away, to be poor or to be rich ? I will, in respect 
to all these things, apologize for thee with men 5 ; 
thus did Epictetus say, and such speech well be- 
cometh our relation to God: servants should be 
content with their masters' appointments and allow- 
ances; they should not only themselves forbear 
to find fault with, but be ready to maintain his 

8 Xpa> [ioi Xoittop us o av 6ehrjs, 6p,oyva>p.ova> <rot, icros (tros) elfii. 
OvBev Trapmrovfiai ra>v <roi boKovvrav' onov 6i\eis aye' tjv 8t\ets 
f<r6r)Ta irepldes. "Apxeiv p,e deXeis, Idicoreveiv, p.eveiv, (pevyeiv, wevea-dai, 
7r\ovruv ; iyd> rroi inrep anavrcov tovtcov npbs toxis avdpdnovs airo\o- 
yr\< — Epict. Diss. n. 16. [42.] 

42 Of Contentment. 

seem, proceedings against any who shall presume to re- 

: prehend or blame them. Especially such servants 

Luke xvii. as we are, who, After we have done all things com- 
I0 ' manded us, must acknowledge that we are unprofit- 

able servants; such as can bring no considerable 
benefit to our Lord, or anywise advance his state ; 
such as therefore cannot challenge any wages from 
him more than he out of mere favour is pleased to 
allow: could we by our labours enrich God, or 
raise him in dignity, or procure delight to him, it 
might seem congruous that he should answerably 
reward us ; but as he getteth nothing by us, so we 
cannot require any thing from him: our best 
services do, indeed, rather need pardon, than de- 
serve any reward : no man hath lived so well, that 
he can pretend any thing from God, that he is not, 
indeed, much behind hand in his accounts with God, 
having received from God far more of benefit than 
he can return to him in service : no man, without 
extreme presumption and arrogance, can offer to 
prescribe, in what measure, or what manner, God 
should reward him. 

Again, if we consider ourselves as the children 
of God, either by birth or nature, or by adoption 
and grace, how can we be discontent for any thing ? 
Have we not thence great reason to hope, or rather 
to be confident, that we shall never want any good 
thing, (necessary or convenient for us,) that no 
great evil shall ever oppress us ? For is not God 
hence by paternal disposition inclined, is he not in 
a manner by paternal duty engaged, in all needful 
occasions to supply and succour us? Can we, with- 
out great profaneness, and no less folly, surmise, 
that he, which is so immensely good, will be a 

Of Contentment. 43 

bad (an unkind, or a neglectful) Father to us? serm. 

No ; as there is no other father in goodness com — - 

parable to him, so none, in real effects of benignity, 
can come near him ; so our Lord assureth us : If M.&tt. vn, 
ye, saith he, being evil, know how to give good things XI ' 
unto your children; how much more will your hea- 
venly Father give good things to his children that 
ash him? 

If we consider ourselves as Christians, we have 
still more reason to practise this duty: as such, we 
are not only possessed of goods abundantly suffi- 
cient to satisfy our desires ; we have hopes able to 
raise our minds above the sense of all present 
things; we have entertainments that ever may 
divert our minds, and fill our hearts with comfort: 
but we have also an assurance of competent supplies 
of temporal goods ; for, Godliness is profitable to all i Tim. iv. 
things, having the promise both of the present life, 
and of that which is to come: and, If we seek first Matt. vi. 
the kingdom of heaven, and its righteousness, all 33 ' 
these things shall be added unto us. It is, indeed, 
strangely unhandsome for a Christian ever to 
droop, or to be disconsolate ; for a friend of God, 
and an heir of heaven, to think he wants any 
thing, or fear that he shall ever want; for him, 
whose treasure and heart are above, to be so 
concerned with any thing here as deeply to re- 
sent it. 

Again, if we reflect upon ourselves as rational 
men, how for shame can we be discontent? Do we 
not therein much disparage that excellent perfection 
of our nature ? Is it not the proper work of reason 
to prevent things hurtful or offensive to us, when 
that may be done ; to remove them, if they are re- 

44 Of Contentment. 

seem, movable ; if neither of these can be compassed, to 


allay and mitigate them ; so that we may be able 

well to support them ? Is it not its principal use 
to drive away those fond conceits, and to quell 
those troublesome passions, which create or foment 
disquiet and displeasure to us? If it cannot do 
this, what doth it signify? to what purpose have we 
it? Is not our condition really worse than that of 
brute beasts, if reason serveth only to descry the 
causes of trouble, but cannot enable to bear it? 
All the reasons we have produced, and all that we 
shall produce against discontent, will, if we are 
reasonable men, and reason availeth any thing, 
have this effect upon us. 

Wherefore considering ourselves, our capacities, 
our relations, our actions, it is most reasonable to 
be content with our condition, and with whatever 
doth befall us. 

III. Further, if we consider our condition, (be 
it what it will, how poor, how mean, how despic- 
able and forlorn soever,) we can have from it no 
reasonable ground of discontent. 

i Our condition in this world cannot, if 
rightly estimated and well managed, be extremely 
bad or sorrowful ; nothing here can occur insupport- 
able, or very grievous in itself; we cannot, if we 
please, want any thing considerable, and the defect 
whereof may not be supplied, or supported by far 
better enjoyments. If we have high opinions of 
some things, as very excellent or very needful for 
us, it is no wonder, if we do want them, that our 
condition is unpleasant to us ; if we take other 
things for huge evils, then, if they be incumbent 
on us, we can hardly scape being displeased : but if 

Of Contentment. 45 

we thoroughly look through such things, and scan serm. 

them exactly, valuing them, not according to fal- 

lacious impressions of sense, or illusive dreamings 
of fancy, but according to sound dictates of reason, 
we may find, that neither absence of the former, nor 
the presence of the latter doth much deteriorate 
our condition, or render our case deplorable. 

We are, for instance, poor: that conditioi), 
rightly weighed, is not so very sad*: for what is 
poverty? what but the absence of a few superfluous 
things, which please wanton fancy rather than an- 
swer need u ; without which nature is easily satisfied, 
and which if we do not affect we cannot want? 
what is it but to wear coarse clothes, to feed on 
plain and simple fare, to work and take some pains, 
to sit or go in a lower place, to have no heaps of 
cash or hoards of grain, to keep no retinue, to have 
few friends, and not one flatterer? And what 
great harm in this? It is a state which hath its 
no small conveniences and comforts, its happy 
fruits and consequences; which freeth us from 
many cares and distractions, from many troubles 
and crosses, from many encumbrances, many dan- 
gers, many temptations, many sore distempers of 
body and soul, many grievous mischiefs to which 
wealth is exposed; which maintaineth health, in- 
dustry, and sobriety ; disposeth us to feed heartily, 
to move nimbly, to sleep sweetly; which preserveth 
us from luxury, from satiety, from sloth and 

4 Tert. dc Patient, cap. vn. [Opp. p. 144 A.J 

u [Kal (TWf^es oceii/a dve(p6eyyerai (SwKpanjs) ra ta/i/3ela'j 

Ta 8' dpyvpdp.a.T icrriv rfre rroprpvpa 

Eif rovs TpayiaSovs xpijmp, ovk els rbv [3lov. 
[Diog. Laert. (Vit. Socrat.) n. v. 9. The lines are Philemon's. 
Vid. Menand. et Philem. Rell. Ed. Meinek. p. 406.J 

46 Of Contentment. 

serm. unwieldiness*. It yieldeth disposition of mind, 


— ' freedom and leisure to attend the study of truth, 

the acquist of virtue. It is a state which many have 
borne with great cheerfulness; many (very wise 
men) have voluntarily embraced 7 ; which is allot- 
p s . x. i 4 ; ted by divine wisdom to most men ; and which the 
bTviii. 10; best men often do endure; to which God hath de- 
i»di.4?'i3; clared an especial regard, which the mouth of truth 
cxM V- na ^ proclaimed happy; which the Son of God hath 
cxivii. 1. dignified by his choice, and sanctified by his par- 
20. taking deeply thereof: and can such a condition be 

isai.ixvi.2! very loathsome? can it reasonably displease us? 

Again, thou art, suppose, fallen into disgrace, 
or from honour and credit art depressed into a 
state of contempt and infamy? This also rightly 
prized is no such wretchedness ; for what doth this 
import? what, but a change of opinion in giddy 
men, which thou dost not feel, which thou art not 
concerned in, if thou pleasest; which thou never 
hadst reason much to regard, or at all to rely upon? 
what is thy loss therein? it is the breaking of a 
bubble, the sinking of a wave, the changing of a 
wind, the cracking of a thing most brittle, the slip- 
ping away of a thing most fugacious and slippery : 
what is honour, and fame, but thought? and what 
more flitting, what sooner gone away than a 
thought? And why art thou displeased at the loss 

x Si vis vacare animo, aut pauper sis oportet, aut pauperi simi- 
lis. — [Sen. Ep. xvn. 4.J 

Multis ad philosophandum obstitere divitise ; paupcrtas cxpedita 
est, secura est. — Id. ibid. 

Sajpius pauper et fidelius ridet. — Id. Ep. lxxx. [6. J 

y Vid. Plut. in Aristid. [Ov/c r]6i\ W (v, anoKpivopevos, <is paWov 
al™ Sia ttjv irevlav ptya (ppovdv, fj KaWla 81a ttAoCtok TrpoorJKii. 
—Opp. Tom. 11. p. 538. Ed. Reisk.] 

Of Contentment. 47 

of a thing so very slender and slim? If thou didst serm. 

know its nature, thou canst not be disappointed ; ' 

if thou didst not, it was worth thy while to be thus 
informed by experience, that thou mayest not any 
more regard it. Is the contempt thou hast incur- 
red from thy fault? bear the consequence thereof 
patiently, and do thy best by removing the cause 
to reverse the effect: is it undeserved and cause- 
less? be satisfied in thy innocence, and be glad 
that thou art above the folly and injustice of those 
who contemn thee. Let thy affections rather be 
employed in pity of theirs, than in displeasure for 
thy own case. Did, let me ask thee again, the 
good opinion of men please thee? that pleasure 
was fond and vain, and it is well thou art rid of it : 
did it not much affect thee? why then dost thou 
much grieve at the loss thereof? Is not also thy 
fortune in this kind the same with that of the best 
men? have not those who have deserved most 
honour been exposed to most contempt ? But now, Job xxx - 
Job could say, they that are younger than I have 
me in derision, — they abhor me, they flee far from 
me, and spare not to spit in my face. And, i" am, Ps - xxii - 6 > 
could that great and good king say, a worm, and 
no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the 
people : all they that see me laugh me to scorn; they 
shoot out the lip, they shake the head : — and, We are x Cor - iv - 
defamed, ive are reviled, we are made as the filth of 
the world, and the offscouring of all things unto this 
day, could the holy Apostles say; and, He is Isai - mi 3- 
despised and rejected of men — he was despised, and 
we esteemed him not, was said of our Lord himself : 
and can this condition then in just esteem be so 
very pitiful or grievous? 

48 Of Contentment. 

seem. But thou art, perhaps, troubled because thou 


" art wrongfully censured, odiously traduced and de- 
famed, abused by slander or by detraction ; which 
asperseth thee with things whereof thou art nowise 
guilty, or representeth thee in a character unworthy 
of thee z : be it so; what then? why doth this so 
much affect thee ? 

Is not every man subject to these things ? are 
not the greatest men, are not the wisest men, are 
not the best men, liable to the same ? yea chiefly 
liable, excellency being the special mark of envy 
and obloquy ? Can any good men escape free of 
them among so many bad men, whose doings as 
goodness doth reproach, so it provoketh their 
malignity? Canst thou imagine to pass thy days 
in so unjust and spiteful a world without incurring 
such bad usage ? can so many vain, so many bold, 
so many lawless tongues be tied up, or kept within 
compass of truth or equity? Wilt thou suffer it to 
be in the power of any man at his pleasure so 
easily to discompose and vex thee ? because he 
will be bad, shalt thou be miserable a ? why dost 
thou not rather please thyself in the conscience of 
thy endeavouring to deserve and do well : in thy 
innocence, and clearness from the blame which 
they impose on thee ; in thy having given no 
cause of such offence and outrage ? why dost thou 
not rather pity their un worthiness and unhappiness, 
who stoop to so mean and base practices, than fret 

z Exempl. Jeremise. Chrys. ad Olymp. Ep. xvi. [Opp. Tom. 
vii. p. TOO.] 

Gratias ago Doo moo, quod dignus sum, quern mundus oderit. 
Hicr. ad Asellam. [Ep. xxvm. Opp. Tom. iv. p. n. col. 67.J 

11 'AAA* ol \ilv riSUrjaav, iym be owe ijSiKTjum. — Thcodor. Ep. LXXX. 
[Opp. Tom. m. p. 952 b.] 

Of Contentment. 49 

at them, as bad to thee ? They do themselves far seem, 
more mischief than they can do thee. 

And why dost thou not consider, that, indeed, 
thou art guilty of many faults, and full of real im- 
perfections, so that no man can easily derogate 
from thee more than thou deservest : he may 
indeed tax thee unjustly, he may miss in the par- 
ticulars of his charge, he may discover groundless 
contempt and ill-will toward thee : but thou know- 
est thyself to be a grievous sinner, and it is just 
that thou shouldst be reproached, (God, for thy 
humiliation or thy correction, may have ordered 
him, as David said he might have ordered Shimei, 2 Sam. xvi. 
to curse thee ;) thou hast therefore more need to be I 
humble in reflection on thyself, than to swell with 
disdain in regard to his injury 

Thou shouldst improve this dealing, and make 
it wholesome to thee, by taking occasion thence to 
correct thy real faults, and endeavouring to become 
truly more worthy ; that so thy conscience may be 
a firm bulwark against all detraction and obloquy : 
in fine, satisfy thyself by committing thy soul with r p e t. iv. 
patience in well doing unto thy Judge, who as- I9 ' 
suredly will do thee right, will protect thy reputa- 
tion, and clear thy innocence : his judgment is only 
worth regarding, be little concerned with any 

Again, being disappointed and crossed in the 
success of their projects, or undertakings, is wont to 
put men, as they conceive, into a woful case : but 
why so ? why, let me ask thee, who art discontent- 
ed upon this score, didst thou build much expec- 
tation upon uncertainties ; didst thou not foresee a 
possibility that thy design might miscarry ? and if 
b. s. VOL. III. 4 

50 Of Contentment. 

serm. so, whv art thou not prepared to receive what hap- 


" peneth ? was it not an adventure ? why then art 

thou troubled with thy chance ? Is he not a silly 
gamester, that will fret and fume at a bad cast, 
or at the loss of a game ? Didst thou refer the 
business to God's disposal and arbitrement ? if not, 
thou deservedst to be crossed, and rather confess 
thy fault, than complain of thy fortune : if thou 
didst so, then be consistent with thyself, and acqui- 
esce in his determination: in fine, what is thy loss? 
Tis of thy care and pain : — would it have been much 
better, that thou hadst been careless or idle ? — but 
hast thou not in lieu of them got some wisdom and 
experience ? hast thou not (if thy attempt was rea- 
sonable and worthy) exercised thy wit, thy courage, 
thy industry? hast thou not (by thy defeat) got 
an opportunity to express equanimity and patience ? 
if thou so improvest thy disappointment, thou art a 
gainer by thy loss, thou dost more than conquer by 
thy defeat : however, since the gain, the credit, the 
preferment thou didst aim at, and hast missed, are 
things in themselves of no great value, and such as 
thou mayest well live without, as other good men 
have done, thou canst not have much reason to be 
displeased upon this account, or to reckon thy con- 
dition very disastrous. 

But friends, will some men say, have been 
unkind, have been ungrateful, have been fickle 
and false, have neglected, have deserted, have 
betrayed me b ; this is indeed commonly most griev- 
ous ; yet being scanned will not render a man's 
condition so lamentable : for such misbehaviour 


It was not an enemy that reproached me, then I could have 
home it, t~'c. — Ps. lv. 12. 

Of Contentment. 51 

of friends is more their calamity than ours c : the seem. 

loss of bad friends is no damage, but an advan ' 

tage ; it is but the loss of a mischief and a trou- 
ble : the fewer we come to have of such, the more 
time we save, the less trouble we meet with, the 
greater security we enjoy. The kindness we have 
shewed, the obligations we have put on such, are 
not quite lost, they will bring the reward due to 
humanity and fidelity ; it will yield satisfaction to 
us, that, however, we have been kind and faith- 
ful to them. The fidelity of remaining true friends 
may satisfy us : however, if all other friendships 
should fail, there is one remains, worth millions of 
other friends, who can never prove unfaithful or 
inconstant, who never will be unmindful of us, or 
deficient in kindness toward us. 

The death of friends doth, it may be, oppress 
thee with sorrow d . But canst thou lose thy best 
friend ? canst thou lose the presence, the conver- 
sation, the protection, the advice, the succour of 
God ? is he not immortal ? is he not immutable ? 
is he not inseparable from thee ? canst thou be de- 
stitute of friends, whilst he stands by thee? Is it 
not an affront, an heinous indignity to him, to be- 
have thyself, as if thy happiness, thy welfare, thy 
comfort, had dependence on any other but him ? is 
it not a great fault to be unwilling to part with any 
thing, when he calleth for it? 

Neither is it a loss of thy friend, but a separa- 
tion for a small time 6 : he is only parted from thee 

c Jam sibi (poenas) dedit qui peccavit. — Sen. de Ira, u. 30. 
d Vid. Sen. Ep. lxiii. 

e Vid. Greg. Naz. [llaTrjp, p^Ttjp, a§ik(f>6s, oi irpoeiXrjcpoTes, ri 
tovto itmv ; apidpos inaivermv 68omopa>v. tovtols aKoXovOrjaei, Kai 

4 2 

52 Of Contentment. 

seem, as taking a little journey, or going for a small time 
X XXNIL to repose f : within a while we shall be sure to meet 
again, and joyfully to congratulate, if we are fit, 
in a better place, and more happy state; Prcemisi- 
nnus, non amisimus; we have sent him thither be- 
fore, not quite lost him from us g 

Thy friend, if he be a good man, (and in such 
friendships only we can have true satisfaction,) is 
himself in no bad condition, and doth not want 
thee; thou canst not therefore reasonably grieve 
for him ; and to grieve only for thyself is perverse 
selfishness and fondness h . 

But thou hast lost a great comfort of thy life, 
and advantage to thy affairs here; is it truly so? is 
it indeed an irreparable loss, even secluding the 
consideration of God, whose friendship repaireth all 
possible loss ? What is it, I pray, that was plea- 
sant, convenient, or useful to thee in thy friend, 
which may not in good measure be supplied here ? 
was it a sense of hearty good-will, was it a sweet 
freedom of conversation, was it sound advice or 

ee'/cXa pcra fuicpov. — Ep. ccxxn. ad Theclam. Opp. Tom. n. 
p. 184.] 

Ov yap diredavev 6 iravra apicrros eKclvos avrjp, Kara rr/v rov 
Kvpiov (pavrjv, dWa. Kadevdei vttvov toxi <rvvr)6ovs paKporepov. — Theo- 
dor. Ep. lxix. [Opp. Tom. in. p. 939 c] 

' ATTodr/fj-lav ro'ivvv irapaKaKS) paKpav ttjv Te\evri]V \a[ia>p.ev, &C. — 
Id. Ep. xiv. [Tom. in. p. 908 a.] 

g Cur ergo doleas si periisse non credis ? Cur impatienter feras 
subductum interim, quem credis rerersurum ? Profectio est quam 
putas mortem. — Tert. de Patient, cap. ix. [Opp. p. 145 c] Cf. 
Sen. Ep. lxiii. 

h Impatientia in hujusmodi et spei nostoe male ominatur, et 
fidem prsevaricatur. &c. — Tert. ibid. 

JJov to rfjs aycmrjs dyaOov, iavr<5 ra paa> bihovra t<5 irk-qcriov diro- 
vepeiv ra Trpoaavrea-Tepa; — Greg. Naz. [Orat. XVIII. Opp. Tom, I. 
p. 362 A.] 

Of Contentment. 53 

kind assistance in thy affairs? and mayest thou not be em. 

find those left, which are alike able and willing to 

minister those benefits ? may not the same means, 
which knit him to thee, conciliate others also to be 
thy friends'? He did not alone surely possess all 
the good-nature, all the fidelity, all the wisdom in 
the world, nor hath carried them all away with him : 
other friends therefore thou mayest find to supply 
his room : all good men will be ready, if thou art 
good, to be thy friends; they will heartily love 
thee ; they will be ready to cheer thee with their 
sweet and wholesome society, to yield thee their 
best counsel and help upon any occasion; is it not 
therefore a fond and unaccountable affection to a 
kind of personality, rather than want of a real con- 
venience, that disturbeth thee? 

In fine, the same reasons, which in any other 
loss may comfort us, should do it also in this: 
neither a friend nor any other good thing we can en- 
joy under any security of not soon losing it ; our wel- 
fare is not annexed to one man, no more than to any 
other inferior thing : this is the condition of all 
good things here, to be transient and separable from 
us ; and accordingly we should be affected toward 

Fragile fractum est, mortale mortuum est. 

But further, it perhaps displeaseth us, that the 
course of the world doth not go right, or according 
to our mind; that justice is not well dispensed, 
that virtue is under hatches, that worth is not con- 
sidered, that industry is not rewarded, that inno- 
cence and modesty are trampled upon ; that favour, 
partiality, corruption, flattery, craft, impudence, do 

* Vid. Sen. Ep. lxiii. 

54 Of Contentment. 

serji. carry all before them; devouring all the encourage- 
' —1 '. ments due to honest industry : this may be ob- 
served, but why should it displease ? art thou guilty 
of contributing to this? then mend; if not, then 
bear; especially seeing thou canst not help it; for 
so it hath always been and ever will be in the 
world, that things never have gone there as the 
wisest judge, or the best men desire : there have 
never been good men enough to sway the world ; 
nor will the few good men that are, be so active in 
promoting public good, as bad are in driving on 
their private designs. Doth not this course of 
things necessarily spring from the nature of men, 
which therefore we should no more be vexed at, 
than for that a serpent hath poison, or that a wasp 
hath a sting ? we cannot wonder at it, why then 
should we be strangely affected by it? could any 
man ever have been pleased, if this were a sufficient 
cause of displeasure ? However the world goes, we 
may yet make a tolerable shift ; God is engaged 
competently to provide for us ; that should satisfy 
us. God observeth these things no less than we, 
and he can easily hinder them, yet he thinketh 
good to suffer them ; and shall not we do so like- 
wise? There is in fine appointed a judgment here- 
after, when all these things shall be redressed and 
set straight ; when justice and virtue shall triumph, 
when integrity and industry shall find their due 
recompense : it is but a moment to that time, and 
till then we may rest satisfied. 

Thus if we do survey and rightly state things, 
which cause discontent, and seem to render our 
condition hard and sad, we shall find, that not 
from the things, but from ourselves all the mischief 

Of Contentment. 55 

proceeds: we by our imagination give to the light- seem. 

est things a weight, and swell the smallest things — ' 

into a vast bulk; we fancy them very frightful and 
doleful, then we tremble and grieve at them. 
Mere names (the names of poverty, of disgrace, of 
defeat) do scare us, without consulting reason, and 
considering how little terrible the things are them- 
selves. We follow silly prejudices, judging that 
highly good, which the vulgar admireth ; that very 
evil, which the weakest sort of men are wont to 
complain of: hence so commonly doth our case 
seem grievous. But, in truth, there is no condition 
so bad, but if we manage it well and wisely, if we 
bend our mind to comply with it, if we moderate 
our passions about the accidents thereof, if we 
vigilantly embrace and enjoy the advantages there- 
of, may not be easily supportable, yea prove very 
comfortable to us : it is our fond conceits, our fro- 
ward humours, our perverse behaviours, which do 
create the trouble, which seemeth adherent to any 
condition, and embittereth every state ; which from 
any slight occasion doth extund vexation, and trans- 
lated every event into disaster. 

2 As there is no condition here perfectly and 
purely good k , (not deficient in some conveniences, 
not blended with some troubles,) so there is none 
so thoroughly bad, that it hath not somewhat con- 
venient and comfortable therein ; seldom or never 
all good things do forsake a man at once, or all 
mischiefs together assail him; somewhat usually 
abideth, which, well improved or wisely enjoyed, 

k Usque adeo nulla est sincera voluptas, 

Sollicitumque aliquid lsetis intervenit. — 

Ovid. [Met, vn. 453. J 

56 Of Contu fitment. 

seem, may satisfy a man, yea render his estate compar- 

XXXVII J J > J i l 

^— able to theirs, who to vulgar eyes appear to oe m 

the best condition: there is in every condition 
somewhat of good compensating for its evils, and 
reducing it to a balance with other more plausible 
states 1 We are, suppose again, in poverty, (that 
instance I propound usually, as the most ordinary 
ground of discontent;) but have we therewith good 
health? then most rich men may envy us, and 
reasonably we should not exchange our state with 
many crazy princes: have we therewith our liberty? 
that is an inestimable good, which oftentimes the 
greatest men have wanted, and would have pur- 
chased with heaps of gold : have we therein a quiet 
mind, and a free use of our time? it is that, which 
wisest men have prized above any wealth, and 
which the chief men of the world would be glad to 
taste of: have we a clear reputation? we have then 
the best good that any wealth can yield, we have 
more than many can obtain in the most splendid 
fortune have we any friends sticking to us? that 
is more than the richest persons can assure them- 
selves of, to whom it is near impossible to distin- 
guish the friends of their person from the flatterers 
of their fortune ; it is a privilege and solace which 
princes are hardly capable to arrive at : have we a 
bare competency, sufficient to maintain our life? we 
Prov thereby keep our appetites in better compass, and 
xxvii. 7. our f acu ities in greater vigour; we thence better 
relish all things; we in consequence thereof avoid 

1 Assuescendum conditioni suse, et quam minimum de ilia 
querendum; et quicquid habet circa se commodi, apprehendendum 
est. Nihil tarn acerbum est, in quo non sequus animus solatium 
inveniat. — Son. de Tranq. An. cap. x. \_-\ J 

Of Contentment. 57 

the burdens, the diseases, the vices of sloth and seem. 

luxury : have we further (as, if we are not very bad, — 

we shall in this case assuredly have, humanity dis- 
posing all men thereto) the compassion of men? is 
not this somewhat better than that envy, that ill- 
will, that obloquy, which usually do attend wealth 
and prosperity? Why then, if our poor state hath 
so manifold conveniences, do we so much distaste 
it? why do we so dwell and pore on the small in- 
conveniences we feel under it, overlooking or slight- 
ing the benefits we may enjoy thereby? This, 
indeed, ordinarily is our folly and infirmity, that 
the want of any little thing, which we fancy or 
affect, doth hinder us from satisfaction in all other 
things : One dead fly causeth all our ointment to Eccies. x. 
stink; the possession of a kingdom will not keep us 
from being heavy and displeased, as Ahab was, if i Kings 
we cannot acquire a small vineyard near us ; on that m *' 4 ' 
one thing our head runs continually, our heart is 
wholly set, we can think on, we can taste nothing 
else; the want of that, notwithstanding all our 
affluence, doth pinch us; our dainties thence do 
prove insipid, our splendours appear dim, every 
thing but that is a toy unto us : so capriciously and 
unaccountably prone are we to discontent. 

3 Is our condition, let me ask again, so ex- 
tremely bad, that it cannot be much worse ? Are 
we sunk to the bottom of all calamity? No surely; 
God's providence will not suffer, the state of things 
here can never admit that to be ; here are succours 
always ready against extremities; our own wit and 
industry, the help of relations or friends, the natural 
pity and charity of our neighbours, will preserve 
us from them ; especially persons in any measure 

58 Of Contentment. 

seem, innocent can never come near them: there will 


' therefore never fail some good matter of content in 

what remains; a few good things, well improved, 
may greatly solace us. But, however, let us ima- 
gine our case to be the worst that can be ; that a 
confluence of all temporal mischiefs and wants hath 
arrived, that we are utterly bereaved of all the 
comforts this world afforded ; that we are stripped 
of all our wealth, quite sunk in our reputation, 
deserted of every friend, deprived of our health 
and our liberty ; that all the losses, all the disgraces, 
all the pains which poor Job m sustained, or far 
more and greater than those, have together seized 
on us ; yet we cannot have sufficient reason to be 
discontent ; for that nevertheless we have goods left 
to us in our hands, or within our reach, far surpass- 
ing all those goods we have lost, much outweighing 
the evils we do undergo: when the world hath 
done its worst, we remain masters of things incom- 
parably better than it, and all it containeth; the 
possession whereof may, and, if we be wise, will 
abundantly satisfy us. We are men still, and have 
our reason left behind, which alone, in worth, ex- 
ceedeth all the treasures of the world ; in well using 
which, and thereby ordering all things for the best, 
we become more worthy, and more happy than the 
most fortunate fool on earth ; we may therein find 
more true satisfaction, than any wealth or any glory 
here can minister : we may have a good conscience 
left, (the sense of having lived well heretofore, or at 
least a serious resolution to live well hereafter,) and 

m Job, who eKevaaev avrov (tou §ia/3<5Xou) fieXodrjKrjv anaaav K.a- 
Taro^fvofievos 7rnp avroii, &c. — Chrys. ad Olymp. Epist. II. [Opp. 
Tom. vii. p. 61.] 

Of Contentment. 59 

that is a continual feast, yielding; a far more solid and seem. 


savoury pleasure, than the most ample revenue ' 

can afford : we may have hope in God, (the author J. v ' XY ' 
and donor of all good things,) and thereVy far 
greater assurance of our convenient subsistence and 
welfare, than all present possessions can bestow; 
we have reserved a free access to the throne of 
grace, and thereby a sure means (grounded on 
God's infallible word and promise) of obtaining 
whatever is good for us; we have a firm right to 
innumerable spiritual blessings and privileges, each 
of them justly valuable beyond whole worlds of 
pelf; we can, in a word, (we can if we please,) 
enjoy God's favour, which immensely transcendeth 
all other enjoyments, which vastly more than coun- 
tervailed the absence of all other things : of this, 
by applying ourselves to the love and service of 
God, we are infallibly capable ; of this no worldly 
force or fortune can despoil us; we having this, 
our condition cannot be poor, contemptible, or 
pitiful; it is indeed thereby most rich, glorious, 
and happy : for how can he be poor, that hath the 
Lord of all things always ready to supply him; 
who hath God, as the Psalmist is wont to speak, p g . i xx ;ii. 
to be his portion for ever? how can he be despi- ^^j?* 
cable, that hath the honour to have the Sovereign cxlii - s - 
Majesty of the world for his especial friend? how 
can he be miserable, who enjoy eth the fountain of 
all happiness, who hath the light of God's counte- Ps. iv. 6. 
nance to cheer him, who hath the consolations of 
God's holy Spirit to refresh and revive him ? what 
can he want, who, beside his present interest in 
all the needful effects of God's bountiful love, is 
an heir of heaven and everlasting bliss? Seeing 

60 Of Contentment. 

serm. therefore it is in our power to be religious; seeing 

W WTT • • 

— " we may, if we will, (God's grace concurring, which 

preventeth us to seek, which never is withheld 

from those who seek it,) be good Christians ; seeing 

nothing can hinder us from fearing God, or can 

Eom. viii. separate us from his love, neither can any thing 

39 ' render our condition bad or unhappy, really dis- 

p s . xxxiv. tressed or needy : fear the Lord, saith the 

9 ' I0 ' Psalmist ; for there is no want to them that fear 

him: the young lions (or the rich, as the LXX. n 

render it) do lack and sufer hunger; hut they that 

seek the Lord shall not want any good thing; and, 

Ecdes.viii. Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil 

Ezra viii. thing, saith the Wise Man; and, The hand of our 

22 ' God is upon all them that seek him, saith the Pro- 

i Pet. iii. phet; and, Who is he that shall harm you, (or do ill 

I3 ' to you, or make you worse ,) if ye be followers of that 

Eom. viii. which is good? saith St Peter; and, We knoiv, saith 

St Paul, that to them who love God all things co- 

i Tim. vi. operate for good; and, Godliness, saith he again, with 

contentedness is great gain; that is, supposing we 

have the goods which piety ministereth, although we 

have nothing more, we are, if we can be content, very 

well to pass; it is abundantly sufficient for us. 

"Why then, I pray, are we discontent ? what do 
we groan or grieve for? what is it that we do 
want? is it the use of reason, is it virtue, is it 
God's favour? then indeed we have good cause to 
be displeased; for the want of those things is 
indeed lamentable but if we do want them, it is 
only ourselves that we should complain of; for we 
may have them if we will, and who can help it if 

11 IlXoVtTWl iTTTUl\(V(TaV. LXX. 

T/y 6 KaKaaav Vfj-as ; — 1 Pet. iii. 13. 

Of Contentment. 61 

we will not? who, if we shall wilfully deprive serm. 

ourselves of them, will be concerned to mind our " 

complaints? But is it only a lump of trash, or a 
puff of honour, or a flash of pleasure, that we do 
need? Is it that we cannot so delicately glut our 
bellies, or so finely clad our backs, or so thoroughly 
soothe our fancies, as we could wish, that we so 
pitifully moan? Is it being restrained in some 
respects from the swing of our humour ; is it that 
we are not so much regarded, or are slighted by 
some persons, is it that we are crossed in some 
design, that so discomposeth and discourageth us ? 
then are we sottishly fond and childish in our 
conceits and our affections : for proper it is to chil- 
dren, whenas they want no solid or substantial 
goods, to wail for worthless toys and trinkets ; it 
is for children, when they have not their will in 
petty and impertinent matters, to cry and lament; 
children are much affected with every word or 
little show that crosseth them : if we were (as St 
Paul chargeth us to be) perfect men, if we had 2 Cor. xiii. 
manly judgments, and manly affections toward 1 6or. xiv. 
things, we should not so regard or value any of 20 ' 
these temporal and transitory things, either good 
or evil, as by the want of one sort, or by the 
presence of the other, to be much disturbed; we 
should, with St Paul, style any present evil, To 
e\a<f)p6v rrj$ Qxiyj/ews, A lightness of affliction; we 2 Cor. iv. 
should with him reckon, That the sufferings of this ^m. vm. 
present time are not worthy to be compared with l8- 
the glories which shall be revealed in us; we should, 
with St Peter, Greatly rejoice, though for a season 1 Pet. i. 6. 
we are in heaviness, through manifold trials, or 
afflictions: we should esteem any condition here 
very tolerable, yea very good. 

62 Of Contentment. 

serm. a I n truth, (if we will not mince the matter, 

— ' and can bear a truth sounding like a paradox,) 

usually our condition is then better, when it seem- 
eth worse; then we have most cause to be glad, 
when we are aptest to grieve; then we should be 
thankful, when we do complain : that it appeareth 
otherwise to us, it is because in our taxations of 
things we do ordinarily judge (or rather not judge, 
but fancy, not hearing or regarding any dictate of 
reason) like beasts; prizing things merely accord- 
ing to present sense or show, not examining their 
intrinsic natures, or looking forward into their 
proper fruits and consequences. 

Adversity (or a state wherein we are not fur- 
nished with all accommodations grateful to sense 
or fancy, or wherein somewhat doth cleave to us 
offensive to those inferior powers of soul) is the 
thing which we chiefly loathe and abominate; 
whereas, in true judgment, nothing commonly is 
more necessary, more wholesome, more useful and 
beneficial to us p ; nothing is more needful, or con- 
ducible to the health of our soul, and to our real 
happiness, than it: it is the school of wisdom, 
wherein our minds are disciplined and improved 
in the knowledge of the best things, whence it is 
termed TraiSela, that is, instructive chastisement* 1 : 
Ps. cxix. s0 David found it; It is, said he, good for me 
that I have been afflicted, that I might learn thy 

p Multoque in rebus acerbis, 

Acrius advertunt animos ad religionem. — 

Lucret. in. [53. J 
Kcu yap rbv rvfpov 7repitnra ical ttjv pq.6vfx.lav cKKoirret irao-av -q ffki^rn, 
ko\ npos vTTop.ovr)v a\fi<p(i' tKKaXvTTTfi tS>v av6pam'iva>v irpayparav txjv 
tvTtktiav, Kai TroWrjv elo-ayei <pikocro<piav. &c. — Chrys. in 2 Cor. Orat. 
xxvi. [Opp. Tom. in. p. 685.J 

'' Kpivo/xevoi Se vrro tov Kvplov Traidevop-tda. — 1 Cor. xi. 32. 

Of Contentment. 63 

statutes; and our Lord himself e/xaOeu a<p' wv eiraOe, serm. 

learned obedience from what he suffered. It is '. 

the academy wherein virtue is acquired and exer- 
cised 1- ; so God meant it to his people: The Lord Deut. via. 
thy God, saith Moses, led thee this forty years in 
the wilderness, that he might humble thee, and prove 
thee. So the Wise Man saith, that, By the sadness Ecoies. vii. 
of the countenance the heart is made better; and, 
That stripes do cleanse the inward parts of the Prov - xx - 
belly. And, It yieldeth, saith the Apostle, the Heb. xii. 
peaceable fruit of righteousness to them that are j am es i. 3. 
exercised thereby. om ' v ' 3 ' 

It is the furnace of the soul, wherein it is tried, 
cleansed, and refined from the dross of vain con- 
ceits, of perverse humours, of vicious distempers: 
When, saith Job, he hath tried me, I shall come Job xxiii. 
forth as gold; and, Gold, saith the Wise Man, is p s !i X 
tried in the fire, and acceptable men in the furnace 5 ° clus - u - 
of adversity s Ww.m. 5, 6. 

It is the method whereby God reclaimeth sturdy xlviii - IO - 
sinners to goodness, engageth them to seek and Dan. xi. 35. 
serve himself: so of the Israelites the Prophet 
saith, Lord, in trouble have they visited thee, they isai. xxvi. 
poured out a prayer ivhen thy chastening was upon Hos. v. 15. 
them; so Manasses, When he was in affliction he 
besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself "*c hron 
greatly before the God of his fathers; so Nebuchad- xxxiii - I2 - 
nezzar, after being driven from his kingdom, JEZtsDan.iv.34. 
understanding returned unto him, and he blessed 
the Most High, and praised and honoured him that 

r Miraris tu, si Deus, ille bonorum amantissimus, qui illos quam 
optiinos esse atque excellentissimos vult, fortunam illis cum qua 
exerceantur assignat? — Sen. de Prov. cap. n. [5. J 

9 Hence 7reipaoy«ir (trial) is the usual word signifying it. 1 Pet. 
i. 6, &c. 

Ps. lxxviii. 
34J cvii. 4, 

64 Of Contentment. 

serm. Uveth for ever; so David himself, Before, said he, 


I was afflicted I went astray, but now have I kept 

Ps. cxix. ,7 7 

6 7 . thy word. 

It is that whereby God doth prepare men, and 
doth entitle them to the blessed rewards hereafter*- 

1 Cor. iv. Our light affliction, saith St Paul, which is but for 
a moment, worheth for us a far more exceeding 

1 Pet. i. 6, and eternal weight of glory ; and, Ye, saith St 

'' Peter, greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if 

need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temp- 
tations; that the trial of your faith, being much 
more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it 
be tried loith fire, may be found unto praise, and 
honour, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ. 
Such is the nature, such the use, such the fruits of 

It is indeed scarce possible, that, without 
tasting it somewhat deeply, any man should be- 
come in good measure either wise or good" He 
must be very ignorant of himself, (of his own tem- 
per and inclinations, of the strength and forces of 
his reason,) who hath not met with some rubs and 
crosses to try himself and them with : the greater 
part of things he must little understand, who hath 
not experienced the worst part : he cannot skill to 
wield and govern his passions, who never had them 
stirred up, and tossed about by cross accidents: he 
can be no good pilot in matters of human life, who 

H yap toov ;roi><ai> iii'iranis fii&6wv eV/racris tort, Kai epeto-p-a 
dcr(pa\es irpos to pr/neri Zkovtcls eWetreiz/. kcu yap rvcpov Karao-TeWei, 
Ka\ pa6vp.lav dnoo-Tpttpei, Kal ippoviparepovs Troiet, Kai (vXafieo-repovs 
epydCerai, &c. — Chrys. ad Stagir. Orat. ix. [Opp. Tom. vi. p. 97.] 

u Nihil — infelicius eo, cui nihil unquam evenit adversi. Non 
licuit enim illi se experiri. — Sen. de Provid. cap. 111. [3.] 

Non fort ullum ictum illsesa felicitas. — Id. Ibid. 

Of Contentment. 65 

hath not for some time sailed in a rough sea, in serm. 

foul weather, among sands and shelves : he could ' 

have no good opportunity of employing thoroughly, 
or improving his wit, his courage, his industry, who 
hath had no straits to extricate himself from, no 
difficulties to surmount, no hardships to sustain": 
the virtues of humility, of patience, of content- 
edness necessarily must be unknown to him, to 
whom no disgraces, no wants, no sore pains have 
arrived, by well enduring which, those virtues are 
learnt, and planted in the soul : scarce can he be- 
come very charitable or compassionate to others, 
who never himself hath felt the smart of affliction, 
or inconveniences of any distress y ; for even, as the 
Apostle teacheth us, our Saviour himself wasHeb.ii. 17, 
obliged to suffer tribulation, that he thence might 16! 1V * 
become merciful, and disposed to succour the afflict- 
ed. (No wonder, if he that liveth in continual pro- 1 Sam.xxv. 
sperity be a Nabal, churlish and discourteous, in- 
sensible of other men's grievances :) and how can 
he express much piety or love to God, who is not 
(in submission to God's will, and for his sake) put 
to suffer any thing grievous, or want any thing 
desirable 2 ? When can he employ any great faith 
or hope in God, who never hath any visible need 
of succour or relief from him, who hath other 

x Quae latet, inque bonis cessat non cognita rebus, 
Apparet virtus, arguiturque malis. — 

Oyid. Trist. [Lib. in. Eleg. in. 79.] 
y Non ignara mali miseris succurrere disco. — 

Virg. \Ma. i. 630.J 
z Quamvis etiam cum molestiae in hujus vitse fragilitate cre- 
brescunt, seternam requiem nos desiderare compellunt. Mundus 
quippe iste periculosior est blandus, quam molestus, et magis 
cavendus quum se illicit diligi, quam cum admonet, cogitque 
contemni. — Aug. Ep. cxlv. ad Anast. [Opp. Tom. n. col. 470 b.] 

B. S. VOL. III. 5 

66 Of Contentment. 

seem, present aids to confide in? How can he purely 

XXXVII. .... 

' delight in God, and place his sole felicity in him, 

how can he thoroughly relish spiritual things, whose 
affections are taken up by an affluence of other 
goods, whose appetites are glutted with enjoyment 
of other delights ? What but deprivation of these 
things can lay open the vanity, the deceitfulness, 
and slipperiness of them ? What but crosses and 
disappointments here can withdraw our minds 
from a fond admiration, and eager affection toward 
this world a ? "What but the want of these joys and 
satisfactions can drive us to seek our felicity other- 
Matt, xiii. where? "When the deceit of riches possesseth us, how 
i Tim. vi. can we j u dge right of things? when cares about 
Lukex i them distract us, how can we think about any 
Deut. thing that is good ? when their snares entangle us, 

xxxh. 15. ~ ° o ' 

Prov. i. 32; and their clogs encumber us, how can we be free 
Hos.xiii.6. and expedite in doing good? when abundance fat- 
jer. X xxii. ' teneth our hearts, and ease softeneth our spirits, 
and success puffeth up our minds; when pride, 
&c - sensuality, stupidity, and sloth (the almost insepa- 
rable adherents to large and prosperous estates) do 
continually insinuate themselves into us, what wis- 
dom, what virtue are we like to have? 

Seeing then adversity is so wholesome and 
useful, the remedy of so great mischiefs, the cause 
of so great benefits to us, why should we be dis- 
pleased therewith b ? To be displeased with it, is to 

u Avdua res hsec est, opibus non tradere mores. — 

Mart. [xi. 5, 3.1 

Munera ista fortunse putatis? insidise sunt. — Sen. Ep. vm. [3.J 

Viscata beneficia. — Id. ibid. 

b Gratulari et gaudere nos decet dignatione divinse castiga- 
tionis. — O servum ilium beatum, cujus emendationi Dominus 
instat; cui dignatur irasci, quem admonendi dissimulatione non 
decipit. — Tert. de Patient, cap. xi. [Opp. p. 146 c] 


Amos vi. 

Of Contentment. 67 

be displeased with that which is most needful or seem. 

• • X XXVJT 

most convenient for us, to be displeased with the ' 

health and welfare of our souls ; that we are rescued 
from errors and vices, with all their black train of 
miseries and mischiefs; to be displeased, that we 
are not detained under the reign of folly and wicked- 
ness, that we are not inevitably made fools and beasts. 
To be disgusted with Providence for affliction or 
poverty, is no other than as if we should be angry 
with our physician for administering a purge, or for 
prescribing abstinence to us c ; as if we should fret 
at our chirurgeon for searching our wounds, or ap- 
plying needful corrosives; as if we should complain 
of the hand which draweth us from a precipice, or 
pulleth us out of the fire. Many benefits, saith Jude 23. 
Seneca, have a sad and rough countenance, as to 
burn and cut in order to healing 1 *: such a benefit of 
God is adversity to us ; and as such with a glad- 
some and thankful mind should we receive it. 

If with a diligent observation we consult experi- 
ence, we shall find, that, as many have great cause 
to bewail that they have been rich, that they have Luke vi. 
been blinded and corrupted with prosperity, that}^ mesViI 
they have received their consolation here ; so many ^° c s vi - 
have great reason to be glad that they have been 
poor, that they have been disappointed, that they 

Ovrcos 6 &ixapTava>v, nqv KoXa^rjrai, Travraiv icrriv aOXtcorepos, 
km tots /AakuTTa a&hws, orav fiff KoXafcerai, fit]$e rrdcrxn fiTjdev dfivov. — 
Chrys. 'AvBp. $-' [Opp. Tom. vi. p. 508.] 

Ta fxev Xeyopeva kukq, to>v re voaoivrav larpeiat, Kal to>v vyiai- 
vovrcov — Simpl. [Comment, in Enchir. Epict. cap. xxxviii. 
p. 390. Ed. Schweigh.] 

KpeiTTcov evrfpepias dxaXivc&TOV vo<tos <£tXocro(£os. Greg. Naz. [Ep. 

xxxiv. Opp. Tom. it. p. 31 c.J 

Beneficia multa tristem frontem et asperam habent, quemad- 
modum urere, et secare, ut sanes. — Sen. de Benef. v. 20. 


68 Of Contentment. 

seem, have tasted the bitter cup; it having instructed 


— — — " and corrected them; it having rendered them sober 
and considerate, industrious and frugal, mindful of 
God, and devout toward him : and what we may 
rejoice in when past, why should we not bear con- 
tentedly when present? why should not the expec- 
tation of such good fruits satisfy us e ? Why should 
not such a condition, being so plainly better in 
itself, seem also better unto us? "We cannot, if 
we are reasonable, but approve it in our judgment ; 
why then are we not fully reconciled unto it in 
our affection? 

5 But further : Let our state be, as to quality, 
what it will, good or bad, joyful or unpleasant, we 
may yet consider, that it cannot be desperate, it 
may not be lasting; for there is not any necessary 
connection between the present and the future: 
wherefore, as the present, being momentary and 
transient, can little trouble us, so the future, being 
unknown and uncertain, should not dismay us. 
As no man reasonably can be elevated with confi- 
dence in a good state, presuming on its duration, 

Prov. (Boast not thyself of to-morrow, for thou hnowest 

not what a day may bring forth;) so no man should 

be dejected for a bad one, in suspicion that it will 

abide long f ; seeing neither (considering the fre- 

e Horrorem operis fructus excusat. — Tert. Scorp. cap. v. [Opp. 
p. 491 b.] 

Let our condition be what it will, we are the same. It doth 
not change us in our intrinsic worth or state. It is but a garment 
about us, or as weather. 

Ego, utrum 
Nave ferar magna an parva, ferar unus et idem. — 

Hor. Ep. ii. 2. [199. J 
f Multa intervenient, quibus vicinum periculum, vel prope ad- 
motum, aut subsistat, aut desinat, aut in alienum caput transeat. — 
Sen. [Ep. mi. lO.j 


Of Contentment. 69 

quent vicissitudes that occur, and the flux nature serm. 

of all things here) is each of them in itself stable, - ' 

and the continuance of each absolutely dependeth 
on God's arbitrary disposal ; and as God often doth 
overturn prosperity, to human judgment most 
firmly grounded, so he most easily can redress the 
to appearance most forlorn adversity; and he, 
being especially the helper of the helpless, doth fre- Ps. ixxu. 
quently perform it: as, He poureth contempt upon™'™ 1 ' 9 ' 
princes, and weakeneth the strength of the mighty; Jobxu - 21 - 
so, He raiseth the poor out of the dust, and lifteth Ps.cvii.40. 
the needy out of the dunghill: He casteth down the JoW. ii.' 
mighty from their seat, and exalteth the humble and p s g a ^ki. 1 ' 
meek: He sendeth the rich empty away, and filleth ^ cxiii 
the hungry with good things. He maketh sore, and c ™- + 1 - 
bindeth up; he woundeth, and his hands make 1 Sam. a. 

Considering therefore the reason of things, and 
the nature of God, if our state be at present bad or 
sorrowful, we have more reason to hope for its 
amendment, than to fear its continuance 8 . If, in- 
deed, things went on in a fatal track, merely according 
to a blind and heedless chance, or a stiff and unal- 
terable necessity; if there were no remedy from 
God's providence, or support by his grace to be ex- 
pected ; (although even then there would be no 
reason to grieve or complain; grief would be un- 
reasonable, because unprofitable, complaint would 

8 Tois ye vovu e^ov<ri nai (rwcppovi \oyc<rpm Ke^prffievois, ovftev t&v 

avopanivav dboKrjrov ovdev yap tovtcov araOepbv rj /3e/3aiov &c. 

Theodor. Ep. xiv. [Opp. Tom. in. p. 906 d.] 

Sperat infestis, metuit secundis 
Alteram sortem bene prseparatum 

Hor. Carm. II. 10. [13.] 

70 Of Contentment. 

sekm. be vain, because fortune and fate are deaf;) yet our 


infirmity might somewhat excuse that idle pro- 
Matt, x. ceeding ; but since not a sparrow falleth to the 
Luke°xxi. ground, not a hair of our head perisheth; nothing 
l8 ' at all passeth otherwise than by the voluntary 

disposition of a most wise and gracious God ; since 
he doth always strictly view, and is very sensible 
of our griefs, yea doth in a manner sympathise 
with them, (according to those pathetical expres- 
isai. lxiii. sions in the Prophets : His bowels sound, and are 
jer. 5 xxxi. troubled; His heart is turned within him; In all 
Hos. xi. 8. their afflictions he was afflicted:) since he further 
i Pet. v. 7. hath by promise obliged himself to care for us, to 
support and succour us ; we have all reason to hope, 
yea firmly to believe, (if at least we can find in our 
Luke xii. hearts to hope and to believe,) that we shall, as 

Heb.xiii.5. soon as it is good and expedient for us, find relief 
33 a ' V1 ' and ease ; we shall have that Evaaipov fiojOeiav, 
Ps^ivT^ 6- that Seasonable succour, of which the Apostle to 
Heblv '16 ^ ne Hebrews speaketh. 

Hope lieth at the bottom of the worst condition 

Job v. 16. that can be : The poor, saith Job's friend, hath 

hope; and the rich can have no more ; the future 

being equally close to both; the one can have no 

greater assurance to keep what he hath, than the 

other hath to get what he needeth ; yea clearly the 

poor hath the advantage in the case ; for God hath 

more declared, that he will relieve the poor man's 

want, than that he will preserve the rich man's 

store : if then we have in every condition a hope 

1 Thess. iv. present to us, why do we grieve as those who have 19. no hope ? having ever ready the best anchor that 

can be to rest upon, (for in this rolling sea of human 

affairs there is no firmer anchor than hope,) why 

Of Contentment. 71 

do we let our minds be tossed with discontentful serm. 


solicitudes and fears? why do we not rather, as the '. 

Apostle enjoineth, Rejoice in hope, than grieve out R m. xii. 
of despair? why do we not, as the Prophet adviseth, I2 ' 
Hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord? Lam. m. 
The effect of so reposing ourselves for the future 
on God's providence would be perfect content and 
peace, according to that of the Prophet, Thou wilt isai. xxvi. 
keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on 
thee; because he trusteth in thee; and that of the 
Wise Man, A patient man will bear for a time, and Eccius. i. 
afterwards joy shall spring up unto him. 23 ' 

The truth is, and it seemeth very observable, in 
order to our purpose, that most discontent ariseth, 
not from the sense of incumbent evil, but from sus- 
picion, or fear of somewhat to come; although God 
at present dispenseth a competency of food and 
raiment, although we are in a tolerable condition, 
and feel no extremity of want or pain, yet, not 
descrying the way of a future provision for us, an- 
swerable to our desires, we do trouble ourselves ; 
which demeanour implieth great ignorance and in- 
fidelity 11 : we think God obliged in kindness, not 
only to bestow upon us what is needful in its season, 
but to furnish us with stores, and allow us securities; 
we must have somewhat in hand, or we cannot trust 
him for the future : this is that which our Saviour 
cautioneth against, as the root of discontent and 
sign of diffidence ; Take no thought for the morrow, Matt. vi. 
for the morrow shall take thought for the things of 4 ' 
itself; sufficient to the day is the evil thereof: an 

noXXijs $£ )j,iKpo-^rv)(ias eoriv vnep ra>v varepov trore crvpfirjijo- 
ptvwv, i) firjSe o\o)s (rvp[3t]aroiJ.£V<i>v, tyjv ddvfiiav tffir] KapnovcrOai Kai 

KoiTTfatiai. — Chrys. ad Stagir. n. [Opp. Tom. vi. p. 105. J 

72 Of Contentment. 

serm. advice no less pious, than manifestly full of reason 

— ' and wisdom : for what a palpable folly is it to 

anticipate that evil which we would avoid; then, 
when we earnestly desire to put off sorrow, to pull 
it toward us ; to feel that mischief which possibly 
shall never be; to give it a being in our fancy 
which it may never have in nature 1 ? Could we 
follow this advice, never resenting evils before they 
come, never prejudging about future events against 
God's providence and our own quiet ; constantly 
depending on the Divine care for us; not taking 
false alarms, and trembling at things which shall 
never come near us ; not being disturbed with panic 
fears ; no discontent could ever seize upon us : for 
the present is ever supportable ; our mind cannot be 
overwhelmed by the pangs of a transitory moment. 
If we need further encouragement for applica- 
tion of this remedy, we have manifold experiments 
Lam. iii. to assure its virtue : as there are innumerable 
isai. xxx. promises that none who hope in God shall be dis- 
xiix. X 23? I; appointed; so there are many illustrious examples 
xxx^Tg 3 -' °f those, whom God hath, in remarkable manner 
i?- IO -... and wonderful measure, relieved from wants and 

i^zra vui. 

22. distresses, raising them out of deepest poverty, 

i Chron. ' contempt, and worldly wretchedness, into most 
eI'cIus. ii. eminent degrees of wealth and prosperity : Look, 
saith the Hebrew Sage, into the ancient generations, 

1 Calamitosus est animus futuri anxius, et ante miserias miser. 
— Sen. [Ep. xcvin. 6.] 

Ne sis miser ante tempus ; cum ilia, quae velut imminontia 
expavisti, fortasse nunquam ventura sint, corte nondum venerint. 
&c. — Id. Ep. xiii. [4.J 

Quid juvat dolori suo occurrere? satis cito dolebis, cum ve- 
nerit. — Ibid. [§ 9. J 

Quoties incerta erunt maria, tibi fave. — Ibid. [§ 12. J 

XV. 2 



Of Contentment. 73 

and see; Who hath trusted in the Lord, and hath serm. 

been ashamed ? Or who hath abided in his fear, 

and hath been forsaken ? Or who hath invoiced him, 
and he did overlook (or despise) him ? If we look 
into those generations, we may there find Joseph, 
out of slavery and out of prison, advanced to be 
the chief governor of a most nourishing kingdom : 
Moses, from an exile and a vagrant, made the 
redeemer and commander of a populous nation : 
Job, out of extreme poverty and disgrace, restored 
to be in wealth and honour twice greater than the; 
greatest men of the East : Daniel, out of captivity *' 3 ' 
and persecution, become president of the greatest 
monarchy on earth: David, raised out of great 
meanness to highest dignity, restored out of extreme 
straits into a most prosperous state ; according to 
those words of admiration and acknowledgment : 
O what great troubles and adversities hast thou Ps. kxi. 
shewed me ; and yet didst thou turn and refresh xviii.^. 
me, yea and broughtest me from the deep of the 
earth again: thou hast brought me to great honour, 
and comforted me on every side. Thus hath God 
eminently done with divers; thus we may be 
assured that he will do competently with us, if 
with the like faith and patience we do, as they did, 
rely and wait upon him. 

6 But further, imagine or suppose, that our 
condition (so irksome to us at present) will certainly 
hold on to the utmost; yet consider also that it 
soon will cease, and change of itself : since we are 
mortal, our evils cannot be perpetual, we cannot 
long be infested with them. 

As it may debase and embitter all the prosperity 
in the world, to consider that it is very fading and 

74 Of Contentment. 

seem, short-lived: that its splendour is but a blaze, its 


' pleasure but a flash, its joy but, As the crackling of 

Eccies.yu. t j lorm; g0 j t should abate and sweeten any adver- 
sity, to remember that it is passing away, and 
suddenly will be gone k Put, I say, the worst case 
that can be : that it were certainly determined, and 
we did as certainly know it, that those things which 
cause our displeasure should continue through our 
whole life; yet since our life itself will soon be 
spun out, and with it all our worldly evils will 
vanish, why are we troubled ? What is said of 
ourselves must in consequence be truly applied to 
i chron. them : They fee like a shadow, and continue not ; 
p s . lxxviii. They are winds passing and coming not again; 
jaines iv. They are vapours appearing for a little time, and 
Ps'.xc. 5. then vanishing away; They wither like grass, and 
isai. xi. 6. fade away as a leaf; they may die before us, they 
Ps. xxxix. cannot outlive us ; our life is but An handbreadth: 
and can then our evils have any vast bulk ? Our 
age is as nothing, and can any crosses therein be 
then any great matter ? How can any thing so 
very short be very intolerable 1 ? It is but, 'OXlyov 
1 Pet. i. 6. apn \vTrr)6evTe<s, being, as St Peter speaketh, A little 
Heb. x. 36, while yet aggrieved ; it is but, Miicpov oaov 6<jov, A 
small quantity, whatever it be, of time, as the Apostle 
to the Hebrews saith, that we need patience; it 
1 Cor. iv. i s but, To irapavr'iKa eXarppou tjjs OXfyews, An afflic- 
tion for a present moment ; and therefore, as St 
Paul intimateth, light and inconsiderable, that we 
are to undergo. We have but a very narrow strait 

I had fainted, if I had not believed to see the goodness of the 
Lord in the land of the living. — Psal. xxvii. 13. 

Omnia autcm brevia, tolerabilia esse debent, otiam si magna 
sint. — Cic. Lsel. [cap. xxvn. 104.] 

Of Contentment. 75 

of time to pass over, but we shall land on the firm ^™Jj 

and vast continent of eternity ; when we shall be ' 

freed from all the troublesome agitations, from all 
the perilous storms, from all the nauseous qualms of 
this navigation ; death (which may be very near, 
which cannot be far off) is a sure haven from all the 
tempests of life, a safe refuge from all the persecu- 
tions of the world, an infallible medicine of all the 
diseases of our mind and of our state : it will 
enlarge us from all restraints, it will discharge all 
our debts, it will ease us from all our toils, it will 
stifle all our cares, it will veil all our disgraces ; it 
will still all our complaints, and bury all our dis- 
quiets ; it will wipe all tears from our eyes, and banish 
all sorrow from our hearts : it perfectly will level all 
conditions, setting the high and low, the rich and 
poor, the wise and ignorant, all together upon even 
ground 1 "; smothering all the pomp and glories, swal- 
lowing all the wealth and treasures of the world. 

It is therefore but holding out a while, and all 
our molestation, of its own accord, will expire : time 
certainly will cure us; but it is better that we 
should owe that benefit to reason, and let it pre- 
sently comfort us n : it is better, by rational con- 
sideration, to work content in ourselves, using the 
brevity and frailty of our life as an argument to 
sustain us in our adversity, than only to find the 
end thereof as a natural and necessary means of 
evasion from it. 

ttavres itroi vckvcs - . 

Evvos -)(S>pos aircuri, 7rew](ri re km. /3a<rtXevcri. — 

Phocylides. [ILotyna vovOctikov. 105.] 
O ovv fiiWeis to XP° VC P X a P^C (<T ^ al tovto t<S \6yeo ^apt<rat.- 
Plut. ad Apoll. [Opp. Tom. i. p. 195. Ed. Steph.] 

76 Of Contentment. 

serm. Serious reflection upon our mortality is, indeed, 

— upon many accounts, a powerful antidote against 

discontent ; being apt to extirpate the most radical 
causes thereof. 

Is it because we much admire these worldly 

things, that we so much grieve for the want of 

them ? this will quell that admiration ; for how can 

we admire them, if we consider how in regard to 

us they are so very transitory and evanid ? How 

can we deem them much worth the having, when 

we can for so little time enjoy them, must so very 

soon quite part from them ? 

i John ii. How can we dote on the world, seeing, The 

i 7 Cor vii. wor ^d) as St John saith, passeth away, and the 

s 1 - . desire thereof. 

Eccles. 1.3, J 

&c How can we value any worldly glory, since, 

1 Pet. i. 24. All the glory of men is, as St Peter telleth us, as 

the flower of the grass; since, as the Psalmist saith, 
Ps. xiix. Man in honour abideth not, but is like the beasts 

that perish. 
Proy. How can we set our heart on riches, consider- 

xi. 4 .' ' ing that, Riches are not for ever, nor can, as the 

Wise Man saith, deliver from death ; that, as St 
jamesi.n. James admonisheth, The rich man fadeth in his 

ways; that it may be said to any rich man, as it 
Luke xii. was to him in the Gospel, Thou fool, this night thy 

life shall be required of thee; and what thou hast 

prepared to whom shall it fall? How can we fancy 
Heb.xi. 25. pleasure, seeing it is but, UpoaKaipos air6\av<n<s, A 

very temporary fruition; seeing, however we do 
1 Cor. xv. eat, or drink, or play, it followeth, the morrow we 
32 ' shall die? 

How can we even admire any secular wisdom 

and knowledge, seeing that it is, as the Psalmist 

Of Contentment. 77 

telleth us, true of every man, that, His breath seem. 

goeth forth, he returneth to his earth, in that very '- 

day his thoughts perish; particularly it is seen that, s ' V1 ' 4 ' 
Wise men die no otherwise than as the foolish and Ps. xHx. 
brutish person perisheth; that, as Solomon with 
regret observed, There is no worh, nor device, nor Eccies. ix. 
knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave whither we are ' 1 ' 4 ' 

Do we admire the condition of those, who, 
upon the stage, do appear in the state of kings, do 
act the part of wealthy men, do talk gravely and 
wisely like judges or philosophers for an hour or 
two? If we do not admire those shadows and 
mockeries of state, why do we admire any appear- 
ances upon this theatre of the world, which are 
scarce a whit less deceitful or more durable than 

Is it an envious or disdainful regret at the 
advantages of others before us (of others perhaps 
that are unworthy and unfit, or that are, as we 
conceit, no more worthy and capable than our- 
selves) that gnaweth our heart ? is it that such 
persons are more wealthy, more honourable, in 
greater favour or repute than we, that vexeth us? 
The consideration how little time those slender 
pre-eminences will last, may (if better remedies 
want due efficacy) serve toward rooting out that 
disease : the Psalmist doth several times prescribe 
it : Fret not thyself, saith he, against evil doers, Ps. xxxvii. 
neither be thou envious against the workers of 1 ' 2 ' 
iniquity; for they shall soon be cut down like the 
grass, and wither as the green herb: and again, .Seps.xiix.17. 
not afraid when one is made rich, and when the 
glory of his house is increased; for when he dieth 

78 Of Contentment. 

seem, he shall carry nothing away, his glory shall not 
xxxvii. ^ escm( ^ a j^ er j h j m: an( j ^ being fallen into this 

scurvy distemper, did follow his own prescription, 
p s . lxxiii. I was, saith he, envious at the foolish, when I saw 
8 ' I7 ' the prosperity of the wicked — until I went into the 
sanctuary of God, then understood I their end; 
surely thou didst set them in slippery places — How 
are they brought into desolation as in a moment! 
Prov.xxiii. So likewise doth Solomon prescribe: Let not, saith 
I/ ' 1 ' he, thine heart envy sinners: why not? because 
surely there is an end, and thine expectation shall 
not be cut off: there will be a close of his unde- 
served prosperity, and a good success to thy well- 
grounded hope. So whatever doth breed discontent, 
the reflection upon our mortal and frail state will 
be apt to remove it. 

It was that which comforted Job, and fortified 
jobxiv. 14. his patience under so grievous pressures: All the 
days of my appointed time, said he, / will wait till 
my change come: he would not be weary while he 
Gen. xivii. lived of his afflictions, because the days of man are 
9 ' few, and full of trouble : if they are full of trouble, 

and that be a saddening consideration; yet they 
are few, and that maketh amends, that is comfort- 

7 I add, that it is somewhat consolatory to 
consider, that the worse our condition is here, the 
better we may hope our future state will be ; the 
more trouble and sorrow we endure, the less of 
worldly satisfaction we enjoy here, the less punish- 
ment we have to fear, the more comfort we may 
hope to find hereafter : for, as it is a woful thing to 
have received our portion, to have enjoyed our 
consolation in this life, so it is a happy thing to 

Of Contentment. 79 

have undergone our pain here. A purgatory under seem. 
&r r t> J XXXVII. 

ground is probably a fable ; but a purgatory upon 

earth hath good foundations: God is wont so to 
order it, that all men, that especially good men, 
shall undergo it : for, What son is there whom the H eb. xii. 7. 
father doth not chasten ? All that will live godly 2 Tim. m. 
in Christ Jesus must suffer 'persecution. 

8 A like consolation it is to consider, that 
wealth and prosperity are great talents, for the 
improvement of which we must render a strict 
account, so that, To ivhom much is given, from him Luke xii. 
much shall be required; so that they are, in effect, 

a burden, from which poverty includes an exemp- 
tion : for the less we have, the less we have to do, 
the less we are responsible for; our burden is 
smaller, our account will be more easy. 

9 I shall, in reference to our condition and 
the nature of those things which cause our discon- 
tent, but propose one consideration more, or ask 
one question : What is it that we do want, or wail 
for? Is it any good we want, which by our care 
and industry we can procure; is it any evil that 
affiicteth us, which by the like means we can 
evade? If it be so, why then do we not vigor- 
ously apply ourselves to the business ; why do we 
not, instead of idle vexation and ineffectual com- 
plaints, use the means offered for our relief? Do 
we like and love trouble? let us then be content to 
bear it, let us hug it and keep it close ; if not, let 
us employ the forces afforded us by nature and by 
occasion, to repel and remove it. 

TIpqass <£epf, jujjS' dyavaKTei. 

'EaaOai be Trpenci, naff ocrov bvvr]. — 

Aur. Carm. [17.J 

80 Of Contentment. 

seem. But if we grieve and moan, because we cannot 


-^ ' obtain some good above our reach p , or not de- 
cline some unavoidable evil, wbat do we thereby 
but palpably express our folly, and wilfully heighten 
our woe ; adding voluntary displeasure to the heap 
of necessary want or pain; impressing more deeply 
on ourselves the sense of them? In such a case 
patience is instead of a remedy* 1 , which, though 
it do not thoroughly cure the malady, yet some- 
what alleviateth it, preventing many bad symp- 
toms, and assuaging the paroxysms thereof 1- What 
booteth it to wince and kick against our fortune? 
to do so will inflame us, and make us foam, but 
will not relieve or ease us : if we cannot get out of 
the net or the cage, to flutter and flounce will do 
nothing but batter and bruise us s 

IV But further, to allay our discontents, let 
us consider the world, and general state of men 

i Look first upon the world, as it is com- 
monly managed and ordered by men : thou perhaps 
art displeased, that thou dost not prosper and 

p To ovv tS>v firi bvvarav i<pU<rdai, dvbpairobaihes Kal i]Xi6iov £epov, 
BeofiaxovvTos, <os povov oidV re, rots Soypacriv rots iavrov. — Epict. Diss, 
m. 24. [21.] 

q Levius fit patientia 

Quicquid corrigere est nefas. 

Hor. [Carm. i. 24. 19.] 
r Animus sequus optimum est EerumnsB condimentum. 

Plaut. Rud. [u. 3. 71.] 

'Enl pev yap fw'a xPW" Ta > v y «»« davara, Kal appaxTTta, Kal rols 

\oitto~is rots 0-vp.TTLTTTOvcnv r)plv deivols dXyovirrcs Ka\ ddvpovvres, ov 

povov ovhtp'iav otto Tavrrjt Kapnovpeda irapapv6iav, dXkd Kai imreipoptv 

ra Bead. — Chrys. 'Av8p. f [Opp. Tom. vi. p. 510.] 

Ot fie 7-<S Tradei fiouAco&Vrer ovdev ptv Kepbaivovaiv 6\o(f>vp6pevoi, 

dviapws fie Ptcoo-ovrai, Ka\ irapogwovai rav oAcok tov Krjdcpova. Theo- 

dor. Ep. xv. [Opp. Tom. in. 909 n.] 

Of Contentment. 81 

thrive therein; that thou dost not share in the x ™^j 

goods of it; that its accommodations and prefer 

ments are all snapt from thee; that thy pretences 
are not satisfied, and thy designs fail: this thou 
dost take to be somewhat hard and unequal, and 
therefore art grieved. But if thou art wise, thou 
shouldest not wonder; if thou art good, thou 
shouldest not be vexed hereat : for thou hast not, 
perhaps, any capacity for this world ; thy temper and 
disposition are not framed to suit with its way; 
thy principles and rules do clash with it, thy reso- 
lutions and designs do not well comport with pro- 
sperity here; thou canst not or wilt not use the 
means needful to compass worldly ends : thou per- 
haps hast a meek, quiet, modest, sincere, steady 
disposition; thou canst not be pragmatical and 
boisterous, eager and fierce, importunately trouble- 
some, intolerably confident, unaccountably versatile 
and various: thou hast certain pedantic notions 
about right and wrong, certain romantic fancies 
about another world, (unlike to this,) which thou 
dost stiffly adhere to, and which have an influence 
upon thy actions : thou hast a squeamish conscience, 
which cannot relish this, cannot digest that advan- 
tageous course of proceeding ; a scrupulous humour, 
that hampereth thee, and curbeth thee from at- 
tempting many things which would serve thy pur- 
pose; thou hast a spice of silly generosity, which 
maketh divers profitable ways of acting (such as 
forging and feigning, supplanting others by detrac- 
tion and calumny, soothing and flattering people) 
to be below thee, and unworthy of thee ; thou think- 
est thyself obliged, and art peremptorily resolved 
to observe strict rules of justice, of humanity, of 
b. s. VOL. III. 6 

82 Of Contentment. 

xxxvii charity, to speak as thou meanest, to do as thou 

wouldest be done to, to wrong no man anywise, 

to consider and tender the case of other men as 
thine own: thy designs are honest and moderate, 
conducible to (or at least consistent with) the 
public good, injurious or hurtful to no man; thou 
carriest on thy designs by fair ways, by a modest 
care and harmless diligence; nor canst be drawn to 
use any other, how seemingly needful soever, which 
do savour of fraud, violence, any sort of wrong or 
baseness : thou hast an honest pride and haughti- 
ness of mind, which will not let thee condescend to" 
use those sly tricks, crooked ways and shifts, which 
commonly are the compendious and most effectual 
ways of accomplishing designs here : thou art, in 
fine, (like Helvidius Priscus,) in thy dealings and 
proceedings, Pervicax recti 1 , wilfully and peevishly 
honest : such an one perhaps thou art, and such is 
thy way; and canst thou hope to be any body, or 
get any thing here ? shall such a superstitious fop, 
such a conscientious simpleton, such a bashful 
sneaksby, so fantastic a philosopher, pretend to 
any thing here ? No : thou art here piscis in arido, 
quite out of thy element ; this world is not for thee 
to thrive in u 

This world is for worldlings to possess and 
enjoy : It was, say the Rabbins, made for the pre- 
sumptuous; and although God did not altogether 
design it for them, yet men have almost made it 
so : they are best qualified to thrive in it, who can 

4 [Tac. Hist. iv. 5.J 

To tov f)6ovs yaKrjVov re ical arexvov, Kai ivpbs ras tov /3/ov arpo- 

<fras Tavras dvemrqSeiov Greg. Naz. [Ep. CLXXVIII. Opp. Tom. II. 

p. 146 A.] 

Of Contentment. 83 

lustily bustle and scramble x : who can fiercely seem. 


swagger and huff ; who can fawn ; who can wind ' 

and wriggle like a serpent; who can finely cog and 
gloze ; who can neatly shuffle and juggle ; who can 
shrewdly overreach and undermine others; those 
slippery, wily artists, who can veer any whither 
with any wind ; those men of impregnable confi- 
dence, who can insist upon any pretences: who 
can be indefatigably and irresistibly urgent, nor 
will be repulsed or baffled by any means ; those 
who have a temper so lax and supple, that they 
can bend it to any compliance advantageous to 
them; who have a spirit so limber, that they can 
stretch it any whither; who have face enough, and 
conscience little enough to do any thing; who have 
no certain principles, but such as will sort with 
their interests y ; no rules but such Lesbian and 
leaden ones, that easily may be accommodated to 
their purposes; whose designs all tend to their 
own private advantage, without any regard to the 
public, or to the good of others; who can use any 
means conducible to such designs, boggling at no- 
thing which serveth their purpose ; not caring what 
they say, be it true or false; what they do, be it 
right or wrong, so it seem profitable : this is called 
wisdom, prudence, dexterity, ability, knowledge of 
men, and of the world, and I know not what 
beside; in the scripture, the wisdom of the world, 
and of the flesh, craft, guile, deceit 2 , &c. For such 

x Quod facillimum factu est, pravus et callidus, bonos et mo- 
destos anteibat. — Tac. Hist. r. [87.] 

y 'EcpiaKTrjs, (TTpar-qyov dveidiaavTOS avrw twos rrjv neviav, To Se 

irepov, %(pr], Sia t'l ov Xeyeis, on dixaios elpi; ^Elian. Hist. Var. XIII. 

39. [Tom. ii. p. 913.J 

z 'H Kvftela T&v avdpwTratv. — -Eph. iv. 14. 

6 2 

84 Of Contentment. 

serm. persons it is to flourish in this world : Behold, these, 

V" \"Y" VTT * 

— '. saith the Psalmist, are the ungodly, who prosper in 

Ps. bcxiii. t j ie wor ij and who increase in riches ; they are not 

7 7 7 

in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued 
like other men. Their eyes stand out with fatness : 
they have more than heart could wish: they it is 
who love the world, who seek it, who study and 
labour for it, who spend all their time, and employ 

i John ii. all their care about it ; and is it not fit they should 
have it ? Is it not a pity they should miss it ? Is 

Gai. vi. 8. it not natural that they who sow to the flesh should 
reap from the flesh ? Should not they who use 
the proper means obtain the end ? Should not they 
arrive at the place, who proceed in the direct road 
thither ? 

But for thee, who canst not find in thy heart 
to use the means, why dost thou hope to compass 
the end, or grieve for not attaining it? Why 
dost thou blend and jumble such inconsistencies 
together, as the eager desires of this, and the hopes 
of another world ? It becometh not such a gallant 
to whine and pule. If thou wilt be brave, be brave 
indeed ; singly, and thoroughly ; be not a double- 
hearted mongrel ; think not of satisfying thy mind, 
and driving on other interests together; of enjoying 
the conceit of being an honest man, with the design 
of being a rich or great man ; of arriving to the 
happiness of the other world, and attaining pro- 
sperity in this. Wouldest thou enjoy both these ? 
what conscience is there in that? Leave rather 
this world unto those who are more fit for it, who 
seem better to deserve it, who venture so much, 
and take such pains for it ; do not go to rob them 
of this slender reward ; but with content see them 

Of Contentment. 85 

to enioy the fruits of their labour and hazard be serm. 


thou satisfied with the consequences of thy virtuous ' 

resolutions and proceedings: if it be worth thy 
while to live innocently, modestly, and conscien- 
tiously, do it, and be satisfied; spoil not thine ex- 
pectations by repining at the want of those things, 
which thy circumstances render incompatible with 
them: follow effectually the holy patriarchs and 
apostles, who, without regret, forsook all, and 
cheerfully went thither, whither conscience and 
duty called them : if thou art not willing to do so, 
why dost thou pretend to the same principles, or 
hope for the like rewards ? But, leaving the con- 
sideration of the world as man hath made it ; 

2 Consider that this world is not, in its nature, 
or design, a place of perfect ease and convenience, of 
pure delight and satisfaction 3 What is this world 
but a region of tumult and trouble ; a theatre of 
vanity and disasters ; the kingdom of care, of fear, 
of grief and pain ; of satiety, of disappointment, of 
regret and repentance? We came not hither to do 
our will, or enjoy our pleasure; we are not born 
to make laws for ourselves b , or to pick our condi- 
tion here : no, this world is a place of banishment 
from our first country, and the original felicity we 
were designed to ; this life is a state of travel toward 
another better country, and seat of rest; and well Heb - xi - I( >- 
it is, in such cases, (well it is, I say, for us, as 
exiles and travellers,) if we can find any tolerable 
accommodation, if we can make any hard shift : it 

a Ewrfi' 6 'l(»/3, (vii. 1) on Treiparijpiov io-riv 6 /3io? tov avdpdnov 
«rl yr\s. — Chrys. ad Stagir. n. [Opp. Tom. vi. p. 106.] 

Ov yap vop-oderfo-ovTes irapetrfnev els tov fiiov, &C. Plut. ad 

Apollon. [Opp. Tom. i. p. 193. Ed. Steph.] 

86 Of Contentment. 

seem, should not be strange to us, if in this our peregri- 


' nation we do meet with rough passages, foul ways, 

hard lodging, scant or coarse fare ; if we complain 
of such things, we do not surely consider where we 
are, whence we came, whither we are going; we 
forget that we are the sons of Adam, the heirs of 
sin and sorrow, who have forfeited our rest and joy 
upon earth; we consider not, how unavoidable the 
effects are of that fatal condemnation and curse, 
which followed our first transgression; we mind 
not that the perfection and purity of the blessings 
we have lost is not to be found on this side the 
celestial paradise. This world is purposely made 
somewhat unpleasant to us , lest we should over 
much delight in it, be unwilling to part with it, 
wish to set up our rest here, and say, Bonum est 

Matt. xvii. esse hie, It is good for us to he here. 

This life is a state of probation and exercise, like 
to that (which prefigured and represented it) of 

Deut. viii. God's people in the wilderness, wherein God leadeth 
us through many difficulties and hazards, in many 
wants and hardships, to humble and prove us, in 
order to the fitting us for another more happy 
state 3 . 

i Cor. x. jVb temptation therefore (or affliction) can seize 

upon us, but such as is human e ; that is, such as is 
natural and proper to men : it is the consideration 

Aia tovto Ka\ 6 Oeos irrlnovov (pvcrei, nai fiox^pov rjfiav top 
filov Kareo-Ktvao-ev, Iva into rfjs ivravda <rvva>8ovp.e.voi ffKtyecos, iiriQvpiav 
tS>v pc-Wovrav Xd/3<o/nej/- d yap vvv, &c. — Chrys. 'AvSp. r' [Opp. 
Tom. VI. p. 504.] 

d Koyl^crdai xPV> °™ ° ^" ™v errddXcov neat tcov (TTecpavatv Kaipbs, 

6 peWav ivriv alcov tcov §<t 7ra\ai(rpdrcov /cat raw Idpcorcov, 6 irapcov. 

Id. ad Stagir. n. [Tom. vi. p. 106.] 

c Heipacrpos vfias ovk ei\r](f>ev tl p,rj avdpanrivos. 1 Cor. X. 13. 


Of Contentment. 87 

which St Paul useth, to comfort and support us in seem. 

. • . XXXVII 

troubles ; and a plainly good one it is : for seeing, ' 

Man, as Eliphaz saith, is born to trouble as the Job v - 1- 
sparks fly upward; that nothing is more natural 
to any thing, than trouble is to us f ; if we are dis- 
pleased therewith, we are in effect displeased that 
we are men ; it implieth that we gladly would put 
off our nature, and cease to be ourselves g ; we 
grieve that we are come to live in this world ; and 
as well might we be vexed that we are not angels, 
or that we are not yet in heaven, which is the only 
place exempt from inconveniences and troubles, 
where alone there is no sorrow, no clamour, no Rev. xxi. 



3 It hath always been, and it will ever be, an 
universal complaint and lamentation, that the life 
of man and trouble are individual companions, 
continually and closely sticking one to the other 11 ; 
that life and misery are but several names of the 
same thing; that our state here is nothing else but 
a combination of various evils, (made up of cares, 
of labours, of dangers, of disappointments, of dis- 
cords, of disquiets, of diseases, of manifold pains 
and sorrows;) that all ages, from wailing infancy 

'Acr^oAia p.eyakr) eKrttrrat iravri dvOpcona, &c. — Ecclus. XL. 1. 

Vid. Max. Tyr. Diss. xxv. p. 244, [Diss. xli. p. 484. et seqq. 
Ed. Davis.J 

g It was the doom of man to eat his bread in sorrow all the 
days of his life. — Gen. iii. 17. 

All is vanity and vexation of spirit. — Eccles. i. 14. 

Ov /3/or aXrjda>s 6 /3toy, d\\a (rvp.(popa.— 

Eurip. [Alcest. 802.] 

Bios yap Svop, e^et, ttovos 8' epyto TreXct. 

Id. [Frag. Inc.] 
Quid est autem diu vivere, nisi diu torqueri? — -Aug. [Serm. 
Lxxxiv. Opp. Tom. v. col. 452 D.] 

88 Of Contentment. 

skrm. to querulous decrepitness, and all conditions, from 

the careful sceptre to the painful spade, are fraught 

with many great inconveniences peculiar to each of 
them ; that all the face of the earth is overspread 
with mischiefs as with a general and perpetual 
deluge'; that nothing perfectly sound, nothing 
safe, nothing stable, nothing serene is here to be 
found: this with one sad voice all mankind re- 
soundeth; this our poets are ever moanfully sing- 
ing, this our philosophers do gravely inculcate ; this 
the experience of all times loudly proclaimeth : for 
what are all histories but continual registers of the 
evils incident to men? what do they all describe, 
but wars and slaughters, mutinies and seditions, 
tumults and confusions, devastations and ruins? 
What do they tell us, but of men furiously striving 
together, circumventing, spoiling, destroying one 
another? what do we daily hear reported, but 
cruel broils, bloody battles, and tragical events; 
great numbers of men slain, wounded 'hurried into 
captivity; cities sacked and rased, countries ha- 
rassed and depopulated; kingdoms and common- 
wealths overturned ? what do we see before us but 
men carking, toiling, bickering ; some worn out 
with labour, some pining away for want, some 
groaning under pain ? And amidst so many com- 
mon miseries and misfortunes, in so generally 
confused and dismal a state of things, is it not 
ridiculously absurd for us, doth it not argue in 
us a prodigious fondness of self-love heinously to 
resent, or impatiently to bemoan our particular 

likeix) piv yap yaia KaKcov, jrXtLrj 8e dd\a(T(ra. 

Hesiod. [Op. et Di. 101.J 

Jer. xlv. 4, 


Of Contentment. 89 

and private crosses k ? May not reasonably that serm. 
expostulation of Jeremy to Baruch reach us ? The 
Lord saith thus; Behold, that which I have built I 
will break down, and that which I have planted I 
will pluck up, even this whole land. And seekest thou 
great things for thyself? seek them not: for, behold, 
I ivill bring evil on all flesh. 

4 Again, if we more closely and particularly sur- 
vey the states of other men, (of our brethren every- 
where, of our neighbours all about us,) and compare 
our case with theirs, our condition hardly can appear 
to us so bad, but that we have many consorts and 
associates therein; many as ill, many far worse 
bestead than ourselves. How many of our brethren 
in the world may we observe conflicting with ex- 
treme penury and distress; how many undergoing 
continual hard drudgeries to maintain their lives; 
how many sorely pinched with hunger and cold ; 
ho^f many_feortured with grievous sickness ; how 
many oppressed with debt ; how many shut up 
under close restraint ; how many detained in hor- 
rible slavery; how many by the wasting rage of 
war rifled of their goods, driven from their homes, 
dispossessed of all comfortable subsistence! How 
many, in fine, passing their lives in all the incon- 
veniences of rude, beggarly, sordid, and savage 
barbarism ! And who of us have, in any measure, 
tasted of these, or of the like calamities ? Yet are 
these sufferers, all of them, the same in nature with 
us : many of them (as reason, as humility, as 

k Ferre quam sortem patiuntur omnes 

Nemo recusat. — Sen. Troad. [1016.] 

Ideo mihi videtur rerum natura, quod gravissimum fecit, com- 
mune fecisse, ut crudetitatem fati consolaretur sequalitas. — Id. ad 
Polyb. cap xxi. [1.1 

90 Of Contentment. 

serm. charity do oblige us to believe) deserve as well, 


' divers of them much better than ourselves : what 

reason then can we have to conceive our case so 
hard, or to complain thereof ? Were we the only- 
persons exposed to trouble, or the single marks of 
adverse fortune ; could we truly say with the Pro- 
Lam, i. 12. phet, Behold, if there be any sorrow like my sorrow; 
we might seem a little unhappy : but since we have 
so much good company in our conceived woe ; since 
it is so ordinary a thing to be poor and distressed; 
since our case is, as the poet 1 speaketh, not rare, 
but commonly known, trite, and drawn out from 
the heap of lots offered to men by fortune ; since 
pitiful objects do thus environ and enclose us ; it 
is plainly reasonable, humane, and just, that we 
should without murmuring take and bear our lot : 
for what privilege have we to allege, that we rather 
than others should be untouched by the grievances 
to which mankind is obnoxious ? Whence may we 
pretend to be the special favourites, minions, pri- 
vadoes, and darlings of fortune ? Why may not 
God well deal with us as he doth with other men ? 
what grounds have we to challenge, or to expect, 
that he should be partial toward us ? why should 
we imagine that he must continually do miracles in 
our behalf, causing all those evils, which fall upon 
our neighbours all about, to skip over us, bedewing 
Judges vi. us, like Gideon's fleece, with plenty and joy, while 

Nee rara videmus, 
Quae pateris. Casus multis hie cognitus ac jam 
Tritus, et e medio fortunse ductus acervo. — 

Juv. Sat. xiii. 8. 
Ten', O delicias ! extra communia censes 
Ponendum? &c. — 

Id. ibid. 140. 

Of Contentment. 91 

all the earth beside is dry: causing us, like the serm. 


three children, to walk in this wide furnace, un — " 

scorched and unsinged by the flames encompassing 25 a "' m ' 
us ? Are we not men framed of the same mould, 
are we not sinners guilty of like offences, with the 
meanest peasant, the poorest beggar, the most 
wretched slave ? if so, then a parity of fortune with 
any men doth become us, and may be due to us ; 
then it is a perverse and unjust frowardness to be 
displeased with our lot : we may, if we please, pity 
the common state of men, but we cannot reasonably 
complain of our own; doing so plainly doth argue, 
that we do unmeasurably over prize and over love 
ourselves. When once a great king did excessively 
and obstinately grieve for the death of his wife, 
whom he tenderly loved, a philosopher, observing 
it, told him, that he was ready to comfort him by 
restoring her to life, supposing only that he would 
supply what was needful toward the performing it. 
The king said, he was ready to furnish him with 
any thing. The philosopher answered, that he was 
provided with all things necessary, except one thing: 
what that was the king demanded ; he replied, that 
if he would upon his wife's tomb inscribe the names 
of three persons, who never mourned, she presently 
would revive: the king, after inquiry, told the 
philosopher, that he could not find one such man. 
Why then, ahsurdest of all men, said the philo- 
sopher smiling, art thou not ashamed to moan as 
if thou hadst alone fallen into so grievous a case; 
whenas thou canst not find one 'person that ever was 
free from such domestic affliction™? So might the 

Eti, <o navrcov aroTrcorarf, Bprjveis ava[8rjv, cos fiovos aKyeivco 
rocrovTcp a-VfnfKaKe\s, 6 /J.r]bi eva t&v TvdmoTe yeyovorcov ajxoipov olicelov 

92 Of Contentment. 

serm. naming one person, exempted from inconveniences, 

" like to those we undergo, be safely proposed to us 

as a certain cure of ours ; but if we find the con- 
dition impossible, then is the generality of the case 
a sufficient ground of content to us ; then may we, 
as the wise poet n adviseth, solace our own evils 
by the evils of others, so frequent and obvious to us. 
5 We are indeed very apt to look upward toward 
those few, who, in supposed advantages of life, (in 
wealth, dignity, or reputation,) do seem to trans- 
cend or to precede us, grudging and repining at 
their fortune ; but seldom do we cast down our eyes 
on those innumerably many good people, who lie 
beneath us in all manner of accommodations, 
pitying their mean or hard condition ; like racers, 
we look forward, and pursue those who go before 
us, but reflect not backward, or consider those who 
come behind us p : two or three outshining us in some 
slender piece of prosperity doth raise dissatisfaction 
in us ; while the doleful state of millions doth little 
affect us with any regard or compassion : hence so 
general discontent springeth, hence so few are 
satisfied with their condition q , an epidemical eye- 

nadovs l'x<ov evpelv ; — Jul. Imp. Ep. xxxvn. [Opp. p. 179. This 
story of King Darius and Democritus the philosopher is given in 
the Epistle cited.] 

n Haprjyopei 8e to. xaxn St' kripaiv kolkoiv. — 

Menandor. [p. 203. Ed. Meinek.] 
Nulli ad aliena rospicionti sua placont. — Sen. de Ira, in. 31. 
p Neque se majori pauperiorum 

Turbse comparet, hunc atquo hunc suporare laborct. 
Sic festinanti semper locupletior obstat, 
Ut cum carcoribus, &c— 

Hor. Sat. i. [i. 111.] 
q Indo fit, ut raro, qui se vixisso beatum 
] )icat, &c. — 

Id. Ibid. [117 ] 

Of Contentment. 93 

sore molesting' every man: for there is no man, of serm. 

. • • . XXXVII 

whatsoever condition, who is not in some desirable ' 

things outstripped by others 1 ; none is so high in 
fortune, but another, in wit or wisdom, in health, 
or strength, or beauty, in reputation or esteem of 
men, may seem to excel him : he therefore looking 
with an evil or envious eye on such persons, and 
with senseless disregard passing over the rest of 
men, doth easily thereby lose his ease and satisfac- 
tion from his own estate: whereas if we would con- 
sider the case of most men, we should see abundant 
reason to be satisfied with our own ; if we would a 
little feel the calamities of our neighbours, we 
should little resent our own crosses, a kindly 
commiseration of others' more grievous disasters 
would drown the sense of our lesser disappoint- 

If with any competent heedfulness we view 
persons and things before us, we shall easily 
discern, that what absolutely seemeth great and 
weighty is, indeed, comparatively very small and 
light ; that things are not so unequally dispensed, 
but that we have our full share in good, and no 
more than our part in evil; that at worst we are, 

Extremi primorum, extremis usque priores 8 ; 

that Socrates had reason to suppose, that, If we 
should bring into one common stock all our mishaps, 
so that each should receive his portion of them, 
gladly the most would take up their own, and go 

r Si vis gratus esse adversus Deos, et adversus vitam tuam, 
cogita quam multos antecesseris. — Sen. Ep. xv. [9.J 

Nunquam erit felix, quern torquebit felicior. — Id. de Ira, in. 
30. Vid. ib. 

s Hor. Ep. II. 2. [204.J 

94 Of Contentment. 

seem, their ways*; that, consequently, it is both iniquity 

— and folly in us to complain of our lot. 

6 If even we would take care diligently to 
compare our state with the state of those whom we 
are apt most to admire and envy, it would afford 
matter of consolation and content unto us. What 
is the state of the greatest persons", (of the world's 
princes and grandees,) what but a state encom- 
passed with snares and temptations numberless; 
which, without extreme caution and constancy, 
force of reason, and command of all appetites and 
passions, cannot be avoided, and seldom are ? What 
but a state of pompous trouble, and gay servility; 
of living in continual noise and stir, environed 
with crowds and throngs ; of being subject to the 
urgency of business and the tediousness of cere- 
mony ; of being abused by perfidious servants and 
mocked by vile flatterers; of being exposed to 
common censure and obloquy, to misrepresentation, 
misconstruction, and slander; having the eyes of 
all men intent upon their actions, and as many 
severe judges as watchful spectators of them; of 
being accountable for many men's faults, and 
bearing the blame of all miscarriages about them ; 
of being responsible, in conscience, for the miscar- 
riages and mishaps which come from the influence 
of their counsels, their examples ; of being pestered 
and pursued with pretences, with suits, with com- 
plaints, the necessary result whereof is to displease 

'Evravda yap liv tis iXKiHrete /cat rrjv tov ScoKpdrouy (pcovrjv, rrjv 
olonevrjv SeiV crvveureveyKai fxtv els to koivov ray arir^iay, coo-re 8ie\eo~6ai 
to 'mtov eicao-Tov, aoyj.ei'coy uv rovs ttKiiovs ras avTa>v \af36vras (iTreXOtlv. 
— A pud Plut. ad Apollon. [Opp. Tom. i. p. 184. Ed. Steph.] 

u Magna scrvitus est magna fortuna. &c. — Sen. ad Polyb. cap. 

XXVI. [l.] 

Of Contentment. 95 

or provoke very many, to oblige or satisfy very serm. 

few; of being frequently engaged in resentments ' 

of ingratitude, of treachery, of neglects, of defects 
in duty, and breaches of trust toward them; of 
being constrained to comply with the humours and 
opinions of men; of anxious care to keep, and jea- 
lous fear of losing all; of danger, and being object- 
ed to the traitorous attempts of bold malecontents, 
of fierce zealots, and wild fanatics ; of wanting the 
most solid and savoury comforts of life, true friend- 
ship, free conversation, certain leisure, privacy, and 
retiredness, for enjoying themselves, their time, 
their thoughts, as they think good ; of satiety, and 
being cloyed with all sorts of enjoyments : in fine, 
of being paid with false coin for all their cares and 
pains, receiving for them scarce any thing more but 
empty shows of respect, and hollow acclamations 
of praise; (whence the Psalmist might well say, 
Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of?*- 1*". 9- 
high degree a lie; a lie, for that their state cheateth 
us, appearing so specious, yet being really so incon- 
venient and troublesome 35 ) Such is the state of 
the greatest men; such as hath made wise princes 
weary of themselves, ready to acknowledge, that if 
men knew the weight of a crown, none would take 
it up y ; apt to think with pope Adrian, who made 
this epitaph for himself: Here lieth Adrian the 

x Personata felicitas. — Sen. Ep. lxxx. [8.] 

Adulandi certamen est, et unum amicorum omnium 

officium, una contentio, quis blandissime fallat. — Sen. de Benef. 
vi. 30. Vid. optime disserentem. Vid. et de Clem. i. 19. Et ad 
Polyb. cap. xxvi. 

y Nescitis amici, quid mali sit imperare, &c. — Saturn, apud 
Vopisc. [Hist. Aug. Script, p. 245 e.J 

Nihil esse difficilius quam bene imperare. — Diocles. apud 
Vopisc. in Aureliano. [Ibid. p. 223 e.] 

96 Of Contentment. 

serm. Sixth, who thought nothing in his life to have befallen 

— — him more unhappy, than that he ruled 1 : such, in fine, 

their state, as upon due consideration we should, 
were it offered to our choice, never embrace; such, 
indeed, as in sober judgment, we cannot prefer 
before the most narrow and inferior fortune : how 
then can we reasonably be displeased with our con- 
dition, when we may even pity emperors and 
kings, when, in reality, we are as well, perhaps are 
much better, than they ? 

7 Further, it may induce and engage us to be 
content, to consider what commonly hath been the 
lot of good men in the world: we shall, if we 
survey the histories of all times, find the best men 
to have sustained most grievous crosses and trou- 
bles 3 '; scarce is there in holy scripture recorded any 
person eminent and illustrious for goodness, who 
hath not tasted deeply of wants and distresses. 
Abraham the father of the faithful, and especial 
friend of God, was called out of his country, and 
from his kindred, to wander in a strange land, and 
lodge in tents, without any fixed habitation. Jacob 
spent a great part of his life in slavish toil, and in 
his old age was, in reflection upon his life, moved to 

z Hadrianus Sextus hie situs est, qui nihil sibi infelicius in vita 
duxit, quam quod imperaret P. Jovius in Vit. [p. 149. Flor. 1551. J 

a Consider what calamities great, powerful, glorious men have 
endured ; Croesus, Polycrates, Pompey, &c. — Sen. de Ira, in. 25. 
[Quomodo hornini pusillo solatium in malis fuit, etiam magnorum 
virorum titubare fortunam.] 

Oi ra>v 'EXXtji/oji' api<TT0i neviq bu£a>u napa iravra rbv /3('oi>. (Aris- 
tides, Phocion, Epaminondas, Pelopidas, Lamachus, Socrates, 
Ephialtes.) — M\mx\. Hist. Var. si. 9. [Tom. n. p. 694.] Cf. n. 43. 
[Tom. i. p. 185.] 

Magnum exemplum nisi mala fortuna non invenit. — [Sen. de 
Pror. cap. in. 6.] 

Abel, Noe, &c. Chrys. ad Stagir. Opp. Tom. vi. p. 107 

Of Contentment. 97 

say, that the days of his pilgrimage had been few seem. 


and evil. Joseph was maligned and persecuted by * 

his brethren, sold away for a slave, slandered for a ^ en " xlvu * 
most heinous crime, thrust into a grievous prison, 
where, His feet were hurt with fetters, and his soul p a . C v. 18. 
came into iron h , Moses was forced to fly away for 
his life, to become a vagabond in a foreign place, to 
feed sheep for his livelihood; to spend afterward 
the best of his life in contesting with an obstinately 
perverse prince, and in leading a mistrustful, refrac- 
tory, mutinous people, for forty years' time, through 
a vast and wild desert. Job, what a stupendous 
heap of mischiefs did together fall and lie heavy 
upon him c ! (Thou vmtest bitter things against me, j bxm.i6. 
he might well say.) David, how often was he i Sam. 
plunged in saddest extremity, and reduced to the xxvl ' 2 °' 
hardest shifts ; being hunted like a partridge in the 
wilderness by an envious master, forced to counter- 
feit madness for his security among barbarous infi- 
dels; dispossessed of his kingdom, and persecuted 
by his own most favoured son ; deserted by his ser- 
vants, reproached and scorned by his subjects ! 
Elias was driven long to sculk for his life, and to 
shift for his livelihood in the wilderness. Jeremy 
was treated as an impostor and a traitor, and cast 
into a miry dungeon ; finding matter from his suf- 
ferings for his doleful lamentations, and having 
thence occasion to exclaim, / am the man that have Lam.iii. i. 
seen affliction by the rod of his wrath, &c. Which of Acts vii. 
the Prophets were not persecuted and misused ? as S2 ' 
St Stephen asked. The Apostles were pinched i Cor. iv. 

and vii. 
'Zibrjpov birfkGcv $ tyvxy aiirov. — LXX. 
c Vid. Chrys. Orat. xxvu. Opp. Tom. v. p. 1<58 ; et Orat. x. 
Tom. vi. p. 107. 

B. S. VOL. III. 7 

98 Of Contentment. 

seem, with all kinds of want, harassed with all sorts of 

— * — ' toil, exposed to all manner of hazards, persecuted 
with all variety of contumelies and pains that can be 
imagined 6 . Above all, our Lord himself beyond ex- 

iaai. lin. 3. pression was a Man of sorrow and acquainted with 
grief, surpassing all men in suffering, as he did excel 

Matt. viii. them in dignity and in virtue ; extreme poverty, 
having not so much as where to lay his head, was 
his portion ; to undergo continual labour and travail, 
without any mixture of carnal ease or pleasure, was 
his state; in return for the highest good- will and 
choicest benefits, to receive most cruel hatred and 
grievous injuries, to be loaded with the bitterest 
reproaches, the foulest slanders, the sorest pains 
which most spiteful malice could invent, or fiercest 
rage inflict, this was his lot f : Am I poor ? so, may 
one say, was he to extremity ; Am I slighted of the 
world ? so was he notoriously; Am I disappointed 
and crossed in my designs? so was he continually, 
all his most painful endeavours having small effect ; 
Am I deserted or betrayed of friends? so was he 
by those who were most intimate, and most 
obliged to him ; Am I reviled, slandered, misused ? 
was not he so beyond all comparison most outrage- 
ously ? 

Heb. xi. Have all these, and many more, Of whom the 

world was not worthy, undergone all sorts of incon- 
venience, being destitute, afflicted, tormented; and 
shall we then disdain, or be sorry to be found in 

e Vid. Chrys. Orat. xcm. Tom. vi. [p. 864 ct seqq.] 

E<c yap Ta>v irparov (pvvrtov avOpamav p.i\pi rod napovTOs Kaipov, 
rovt to>v oXav eo-7rov8a/corar atficiv Qt6v effTiv tvpelv napa tS)V auujSe- 
ftKOK&rcav avdpanrav t]8iKr]pevovs, Kcii rrXf/oroty ayav ncpnreTTTWKOTas 
aviapols. — Theodor. Ep. cxxxn. [Opp. Tom. m. p. 1005 b.] 


Of Contentment. 99 

such company? Having such a cloud of martyrs, seem. 


Ze£ ws nm wi£& 'patience the race that is set before ' 

us. Is it not an honour, should it not be a com- e ■ XU#I- 
fort to us, that we do, in condition, resemble them? 
If God hath thus dealt with those, who of all men 
have been dearest to him s , shall we take it ill at 
his hands, that he, in any manner, dealeth so with 
us? Can we pretend, can we hope, can we even 
wish to be used better, than God's firstborn, and 
our Lord himself hath been ? If we do, are we not 
monstrously fond and arrogant ? especially consider- 
ing, that it is not only an ordinary fortune, but the 
peculiar character of God's chosen and children, 
to be often crossed, checked, and corrected; even 
Pagans have observed it, and avowed there is 
great reason for it; God, saith Seneca h , hath a 
fatherly mind toward good men; and strongly loveth 
them — therefore after the manner of severe parents, 
he educateth them hardly, &c. The Apostle doth in 
express terms assure us thereof: for, Whom, saith Heb. xii. 
he, the Lord loveth, he chasteneth, and scourgeih ' ' 
every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chasten- 
ing, God dealeth with you as with sons — but if ye 
be without chastisement, whereof all (that is, all good 
men and genuine sons of God) are partakers, then 
are ye bastards, and not sons. "Would we be ille- 
gitimated, or expunged from the number of God's 

8 Kai vvv, Kai jraAai, e£ ov yey6vacriv avdpanroi, arravres ol ra 
Bern <p[koi t<5 (rrvyvy Ka\ inifx-o^Bco Kai pvp'iav yep.ovri deivcov eicXt]- 
pwOijo-av |3ia> Chrys. in Mart. iEgypt. Opp. Tom. V. p. 522. 

'Ev rots ircipao-pois fjvOow 01 hUaioi. — Id. in 2 Cor. Orat. xrvi. 
[Tom. ra. p. 685.J 

Kai yap tovs ayiovs airavras ourcos rjyaytv 6 Geos Sta 6ktyea>s. — 
[Id. ibid. p. 686.] 

h [Patrium habet Deus adversus bonos viros animum, et illos 
fortiter amat.j Sen. de Prov. cap. n. 4. 


100 Of Contentment. 

seem, true children? would we be divested of his special 


— regard and good-will? if not, why do we not gladly 

embrace, and willingly sustain adversity, which is 
by himself declared so peculiar a badge of his 
children, so constant a mark of his favour 1 ? If all 
good men do, as the Apostle asserteth, partake 
thereof; shall we, by displeasure at it, shew that 
we desire to be assuredly none of that party, that 
we affect to be discarded from that holy and happy 
John xvi. society? Verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye shall 
weep and lament, hut the world shall rejoice. It is 
peculiarly the lot of Christians, as such, in con- 
formity to their afflicted Saviour; they are herein, 
Rom. viii. Predestinated to be conformable to his image; to 
i Theas. iii. this they are appointed. {Let no man, saith St 
p'hii. iii. Paul, be moved by these afflictions; for ye know 
IO ' that we are appointed thereunto:) to this they are 

i Pet. ii. called, (If when ye do well, saith St Peter, and 
' 1 °' 21 - suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable 
with God; for even hereunto were ye called,) this is 
propounded to them as a condition to be under- 
taken and undergone by them as such; they are 
Matt. x-si. by profession Crucigeri, bearers of the cross; (If 
24 ' x ' 3 ' any one will come after me, let him deny himself, 
1 Tim. iii. and take up his cross, and follow me; Every one 
that will live godly in Christ Jesus, must suffer per- 
secution*:) by this are they admitted into the state 
Actaxiv. of Christians 1 ; (By many afflictions we must enter 
into the kingdom of heaven;) this doth qualify them 

Tewov, el nporrepxr/ Sovkeveiu Kvpiw Qew, erotfiacrov rrjv -^rvx^v 
aov (Is Tretpaa/xov. — Ecclus. ii. 1. 

'Ev t<5 Kocrpco ffktyiv e^ere. Joh. xvi. 33. 

1 Quotam partem angustiarum porpcssus sum, qui cruci mi- 
lito ? — Ilier. ad Asel. Ep. xxvm. [Opp. Tom. iv p. ii. col. (57.J 
Vid. Greg. Naz. Ep. ocxxin. (ad Theclam.) [Opp. Tom. 11. p. 185.] 



Of Contentment. 101 

for enjoying the glorious rewards which their Reli- x SEf ^; 
gion propoundeth; (We are coheirs with Christ; so — — — 
that, If we suffer together, we shall also together be l7 ° m ' 
glorified with him: If we endure, we shall also i Tim. h. 
reign with him m :) and shall we then pretend to be pmi. in. 
Christians, shall we claim any benefit from thence, 
if we are unwilling to submit to the law, to attend 
the call, to comply with the terms thereof? Will 
we enjoy its privileges, can we hope for its re- 
wards, if we will not contentedly undergo what it 
requireth? Shall we arrive to the end it propound- 
eth, without going in the way it prescribeth, the 
way which our Lord himself doth lead us in, and 
himself hath trod before us ? 

In fine, seeing adversity is, as hath been de- 
clared, a thing so natural to all men, so common to 
most men, so incident to great men, so proper to 
good men, so peculiar to Christians, we have great 
reason to observe the Apostle's advice, Beloved, i Pet. iv. 
wonder not concerning the fiery trial, which is to try 
you, as if some strange thing happened to you; we 
should not wonder at it as a strange or uncouth 
thing, that we are engaged in any trouble or in- 
convenience here; we are consequently not to be 
affected with it as a thing very grievous. 

V Moreover, considering the nature of this 
duty itself may be a great inducement and aid to 
the practice of it. 

i It is itself a sovereign remedy for all 
poverty and all sufferance"; removing tbem, or 

m It is a priyilege of Christians, in favour bestowed on them ; 
'Yfuv exap[<T0T]. — Phil. i. 29. Your glory. — Eph. iii. 13. 'Yttojuoj^s 
?X«Te xp*' iav - — Heb. x. 36. Faith and patience are consorts. — Heb. 
yi. 12 ; Rev. xiii. 10. 

Eo"Ti8e TTopiafios p.eyaa 77 eviTtfieui juera avrapKeias. — 1 Tim. vi. 6. 


102 Of Contentment. 

seem, allaying all the mischief they can do us. It is 

well and truly said by St Austin , Interest non 

qualia, sed qualis quis patiatur; It is no matter 
what, but how disposed a man suffer eth: the chief 
mischief any adversity can do us is to render us 
discontent; in that consisteth all the sting and all 
the venom thereof; which thereby being voided, 
adversity can signify nothing prejudicial or noxious 
to us; all distraction, all distemper, all disturbance 
from it is by the antidote of contentedness pre- 
vented or corrected. He that hath his desires 
moderated to a temper suitable with his condition, 
that hath his passions composed and settled agree- 
ably to his circumstances, what can make any 
grievous impression on him, or render him anywise 
miserable ? he that taketh himself to have enough, 
what doth he need? he that is well pleased to be 
as he is, how can he be better? what can the largest 
wealth, or highest prosperity in the world, yield 
more or better than satisfaction of mind ? he that 
hath this most essential ingredient of felicity, is 
he not thence in effect most fortunate ? is not at 
least his condition as good as that of the most 
prosperous p ? 

2 As good, do I say ? yea, is it not plainly 
much better than can arise merely from any secular 
prosperity ? for satisfaction springing from rational 
consideration and virtuous disposition of mind, is 
indeed far more precious, more noble and worthy, 

De Civ. Dei. i. 8. [Opp. Tom. vn. col. 8 e.] 

p Cui enim paupertate bene convenit, dives est. — Sen. Ep. n. [5.] 

Nemo enim aliorum sensu miser est, sed suo. Et ideo non 

possunt cujusquam falso judicio esse miseri, qui sunt vero sua 

conscientia beati . . . Nulli beatiores sunt, quam qui hoc sunt quod 

volunt. — Sal v. de Gubern. Dei, Lib. I. [p. 6. Ed. Baluz.] 

Of Contentment. 103 

more solid and durable, more sweet and delectable, serm. 

than that which any possession, or fruition of ' 

worldly goods can afford* 1 : To a(p6aprov tou irpqeos 
Kai riav^iov Trvevfiaros, The incorruptibility, as St i Pet. iii. 
Peter speaketh, of a meek and quiet spirit is before 
God of great price; before God, that is, according 
to the most upright and certain judgment, it is 
the most precious and valuable thing in the world ; 
There is, the philosopher could say, no spectacle 
more worthy of God, (or grateful to him,) than a 
good man gallantly combating with ill fortune 1 
Not to be discomposed or distempered in mind, 
not to fret or whine, when all things flow prosper- 
ously and according to our mind, is no great 
praise, no sign of wisdom, or argument of goodness; 
it cannot be reckoned an effect of sound judgment 
or virtuous affection, but a natural consequent of 
such a state : but when there are evident occasions 
and urgent temptations to displeasure, when present 
sense and fancy do prompt and provoke to murmur- 
ing, then to be satisfied in our mind, then to keep 
our passions in order, then to maintain good hu- 
mour, then to restrain our tongue from complaint, 
and to govern our demeanour sweetly, this is indeed 
honourable and handsome; to see a worthy man 
sustain crosses, wants, disgraces, with equanimity 
and cheerfulness, is a most goodly sight: such a 

^ Ov yap to Trocrjaai ri xprjtrrov fiovov, dWd Kai to 7ra6elv rt KaKov, 

TroWas e^ec T " s djioi^as ko.1 [leyaka to. eiraff\a. &c. Chrys. ad 

Olymp. Ep. m. [Opp. Tom. vn. p. 71.] Vid. p. 73. 

Ovbev rfjs iv a\yr)86(riv xmop,ovTjs els evSoKifiijcrecos \6yov \o~ov. fj yap 
fSamWs tS>v ayaBasv, Kai tSsv <TTe(pdva>v ij Kopa>v\s, avrrj paKiard icrri. 
— Id. ad Olymp. Ep. xvi. [Tom. vn. p. 99.] Vid. ad Olymp. 
Epp. vi. et in. p. 73. de Josepho. 

r Ecce par Deo dignum, vir fortis cum mala fortuna com- 
positus. — Sen. de Provid. [cap. n. 6.] 

104 Of Contentment. 

seem, person, to a judicious mind, appeareth in a far more 

honourable and invidious state, than any prosperous 

man ; his virtue shining in the dark is far more 
i Pet. ii. bright and fair : This, as St Peter saith, in a like 
case, is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward 
God suffereth grief; if, in our case, (we may say 
after him,) a man, out of conscientious deference to 
God's will, doth contentedly undergo adversity, this, 
God is ready to take for an obligation on himself, 
and will be disposed in a manner to thank him (or 
to reward him) for it: this indeed amounteth to 
a demonstration, that such a person is truly wise 
and really good : so is the satisfaction of a contented 
poor man more worthy 8 : and it is no less more 
sweet and comfortable, than that of any rich man, 
pleasing himself in his enjoyments; contentedness 
satisfieth the mind of the one, abundance doth 
only satiate the appetites of the other; the former 
is immaterial and sprightly, the complacence of a 
man ; the latter is gross and dull, like the sensuality 
of a beast ; the delight of that sinketh deep into 
the heart, the pleasure of this doth only float in 
the outward senses, or in the fancy; one is a 
positive comfort, the other but a negative indo- 
lency in regard to the mind : the poor good man's 
joy is wholly his own, and home-born, a lovely 
child of reason and virtue; the full rich man's 
pleasure cometh from without, and is thrust into 
him by impulses of sensible objects. 

8 Honesta, inquit Epicurus, res est, pauportas keta. — [Sen. 
Ep. n. 4. J 

Ovhi yap 6 8ia tov Geoi' ti iracrx a > v P-ovov euSoKipel, dXXa /cat 6 
aSixtor rt naax^v, Kai (pepa>v yevvaiaas, kcll tx))(apio-T(ov r&> crvy^a)poOiTt 

Oe<5 ovk (Xarrcov tov Sia tov Qcov ravra ttoo'xovtos io~Tiv. Chl'VS. 

Avbp- r' [Opp. Tom. VI. p. 505.] 

Of Contentment. 105 

Hence is the satisfaction of contented adver- ^^ M - T 

sity far more constant, solid, and durable, than 

that of prosperity ; it, being the product of immu- 
table reason, abideth in the mind, and cannot 
easily be driven thence by any corporeal impres- 
sions, which immediately cannot touch the mind; 
whereas the other, issuing from sense, is subject to 
all the changes inducible from the restless com- 
motions of outward causes affecting and altering 
sense: whence the satisfaction proceeding from 
reason and virtue, the longer it stayeth the firmer 
and sweeter it groweth, turning into habit, and 
working nature to an agreement with it; whereas 
usually the joys of wealth and prosperity do soon 
degenerate into fastidiousness, and terminate in 
bitterness; being honey in the mouth, but soon Rev. x. to. 
becoming gall in the bowels. Nothing indeed can 11. 
affect the mind with a truer pleasure, than the 
very conscience of discharging our duty toward 
God in bea,ring hardship, imposed by his provi- 
dence, willingly and well. We have therefore 
much reason not only to acquiesce in our straits, 
but to be glad of them, seeing they do yield us an 
opportunity of immediately obtaining goods more 
excellent and more desirable, than any prosperous 
or wealthy man can easily have, since they furnish 
us with means of acquiring and exercising a virtue 
worthy the most ample fortune ; yea justly prefer- 
able to the best estate in the world ; a virtue, which, 
indeed, doth not only render any condition toler- 
able, but sweeteneth any thing, yea sanctifieth all 
states, and turneth all occurrences into blessings. 

3 Even the sensible smart of adversity is by 
contentedness somewhat tempered and eased ; the 

106 Of Contentment. 

serm. stiller and quieter we lie under it, the less we feel 


— " its violence and pungency : it is tumbling and 

tossing that stirreth the ill humours, and driveth 
them to the parts most weak, and apt to be 
affected with them; the rubbing of our sores is 
that which inflameth and exasperateth them : where 
the mind is calm, and the passions settled, the 
pain of any grievance is in comparison less acute, 
less sensible. 

4 Whence, if others in our distress are uncha- 
ritable to us, refusing the help they might or 
should afford toward the rescuing us from it, or 
relieving us in it, we hereby may be charitable and 
great benefactors to ourselves; we should need no 
anodyne to be ministered from without, no suc- 
cour to come from any creature, if we would not 
be wanting to ourselves, in hearkening to our 
own reason, and enjoying the consolation which it 
affordeth. In not doing this, we are more uncha- 
ritable and cruel to ourselves, than any spiteful 
enemy or treacherous friend can be ; no man can so 
wrong or molest us, as we do ourselves, by admit- 
ting or fostering discontent. 

5 The contented bearing of our condition is 
also the most hopeful and ready means of bettering 
it, and of removing the pressures we lie under. 

It is partly so in a natural way, as disposing 
us to embrace and employ the advantages which 
occur conducible thereto : for as discontent blindeth 
men, so that they cannot descry the ways of escape 
from evil, it dispiriteth and discourageth them 
from endeavouring to help themselves, it depriv- 
eth them of many succours and expedients, which 
occasion would afford for their relief; so he that 

Of Contentment. 107 

being undisturbed in his spirit hath his eyes open seem. 

and his courage up, and all his natural powers in ' 

order, will be always ready and able to do his best, 
to act vigorously, to snatch any opportunity, and 
employ any means toward the freeing himself from 
what appeareth grievous to him. 

Upon a supernatural account, content is yet 
more efficacious to the same purpose : for cheerful 
submission to God's will doth please him much, 
doth strongly move him to withdraw his afflicting 
hand, doth effectually induce him to advance us 
into a most comfortable state : of all virtues, there 
is none more acceptable to God than patience. 
God will take it well at our hands, if we do con- 
tentedly receive from his hand the worst things : it 
is a monstrous thing not to receive prosperity with 
grateful sense, but it is heroical with the same 
mind to receive things unpleasant: he that doth 

SO, ZrjmiovTai fxev w$ avOpcoiros, (TTecpavovrai oe o>s 

(piXoGeos, He suffereth loss as a man, but is crowned 
as a lover of God 1 It is an unreasonable thing 
to think of enjoying both rest and pleasure here, 
and the rewards hereafter; our consolation here 
with Dives, and our refreshment hereafter with 

Be humbled, saith St Peter, under the mighty i Pet. v. 6. 
hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time, 
(eV tempo), when it is opportune and seasonable;) 
and, Be humbled, saith St James, before the Lord, James iv. 
and he will exalt you; and, When, saith Job's job 
friends, men are cast down, then thou shalt say, There 29 ' 
is lifting up; and he will save the humble person. 

* Chrys. Orat. Lxxxix. [Opp. Tom. vi. p. 842.] Vide ad 
Stagir. i. et n. Tom. vi. p. 106. 



108 Of Contentment. 

serm. God with favourable pity hearkeneth to the groans 


' of them who are humbly contrite under his hand, 

^f i^y". and reverently tremble at his word ; He reviveth 
isai lxvi ^ ie spirit of the humble; He is nigh to the broken of 
^ ; ivii .15. Ji ear t and saveth such as are of a contrite spirit ; 

Ps. XXXIV. ' . 7 . 

18 ; li. 17; J£e healeth the broken in heart, and bmdeth up 
Matt, v.' 3, their ivounds; he proclaimeth blessedness to the 
4 ' poor in spirit, and to those that mourn, because 

they shall find comfort and mercy : all which de- 
clarations and promises are made concerning those, 
who bear adversity with a submiss and contented 
mind; and we see them effectually performed in 
the cases of Ahab, of the Ninevites, of Nebu- 
chadnezzar, of Manasses, of Hezekiah, of David; 
of all persons mentioned in holy scripture, upon 
whom adversities had such kindly operations. But 
discontent and impatience do offend God, and pro- 
voke him to continue his judgments, yea to in- 
crease the load of them : to be sullen and stubborn 
is the sure way to render our condition worse and 
job ix. 4 . more intolerable: for, Who hath hardened himself 
i. 5 • xxvi.' against God and prospered f The Pharaohs and 
Sauls, and such like persons, who rather would 
break than bend, who, being dissatisfied with 
their condition, chose rather to lay hold on other 
imaginary succours, than to have recourse to God's 
mercy and help; those, who (like the refractory 
jer. ii. 30; Israelites) have been smitten in vain as to any 
quiet submission or conversion unto God, what 
have they but plunged themselves deeper into 
wretchedness ? 

It is, indeed, to quell our haughty stomach, to 
check our froward humour, to curb our impetuous 
desires, to calm our disorderly passions, to suppress 

Of Contentment. 109 

our fond admiration and eager affection toward xxxvii 

these worldly things, in short, to work a content- 

ed mind in us, that God ever doth inflict any hard- 
ships on us, that he crosseth us in our projects, that 
he detaineth us in any troublesome state: until 
this be achieved, as it is not expedient that we 
should be eased, as relief would really be no bless- 
ing to us; so God (except in anger and judgment) 
will nowise grant or dispense it ; it would be a 
cruel mercy for him to do it. If therefore we do 
wish ever to be in a good case as to this world, let 
us learn to be contented in a bad one : having got 
this disposition firmly rooted in our hearts, we are 
qualified for deliverance and preferment; nor will 
God fail in that due season to perform for us what 
he so often hath declared and promised ; his nature 
disposeth him, his word hath engaged him to help 
and comfort us. 

These are the most proper inducements unto 
contentedness, which considering, (in the light of 
reason and holy scripture,) the nature of the thing 
suggested unto my meditation: there are beside 
some other means advisable, (some general, some 
more particular,) which are very conducible to the 
production of content, or removing discontent; 
which I shall touch, and then conclude. 

i A constant endeavour to live well, and to 
maintain a good conscience : he that doth this can 
hardly be dismayed or disturbed with any occur- 
rence here; this will yield a man so ample and 
firm a satisfaction of mind, as will bear down the 
sense of any incumbent evils ; this will beget such 
hope in God, and so good assurance of his favour, 
as will supply the want of all other things, and 

110 Of Contentment. 

serm. fully satisfy us, that we have no cause to be 


' troubled with any thing here ; he that by conscien- 
tious practice hath obtained such a hope, is pre- 
pared against all assaults of fortune with an un- 
Ps.cxii. 7; daunted mind and force impregnable; He will, as 
CX1X " ' the Psalmist saith, not he afraid of any evil tidings; 
for his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord. Main- 
taining this will free us from all anxious care, 
transferring it upon God; it will breed a sure confi- 
dence, that he will ever be ready to supply us with 
all things convenient, to protect and deliver us from 
all things hurtful; ensuring to us the effect of that 
promise, by the conscience of having performed the 
Matt. vi. condition thereof: Seek ye first the kingdom of God 
and his righteousness, and all these things shall he 
added unto you. 

This was that which supported the Apostles, and 

kept them cheerful under all that heavy load of 

i Cor. i ,12. distresses which lay upon them; Our rejoicing is 

1 6. ' this, could they say, the testimony of our conscience, 

i ;° idv. m- that in simplicity and godly sincerity — we have had 

our conversation in this world. 

It is the want of this best pleasure, that both 
rendereth the absence of all other pleasures griev- 
ous, and their presence insipid: had we a good 
conscience, we could not seem to want comfort; as 
we could not truly be unhappy, so we could hardly 
be discontent; without it, no affluence of other 
things can suffice to content us. It is an evil con- 
science that giveth an edge to all other evils, and 
enableth them sorely to afflict us, which other- 
wise would but slightly touch us: we become 
thence uncapable of comfort, seeing not only 
things here upon earth to cross us, but heaven to 

Of Contentment. Ill 

lour upon us: finding no visible succour, and serm. 

... XXXVII. 

having no hope from the power invisible; yea — ' 

having reason to be discouraged with the fear of 
God's displeasure. As he that hath a powerful 
enemy near cannot abide in peace, without anxious 
suspicion and fear; so he that is at variance with 
the Almighty, who is ever at hand, ready to cross 
and punish him, what quiet of mind can he enjoy? 
There is no peace to the ivicked. Isai - lvi1 - 

2 The contemplation of our future state is a 
sovereign medicine to work contentedness and to 
cure discontent": as discontent easily doth seize upon, i Thess.iv. 
and cleaveth fast to souls, which earnestly do pore 
and dote upon these present things, which have in 
them nothing satisfactory or stable ; so if we can 
raise our minds firmly to believe, seriously to con- 
sider, and worthily to prize the future state and its 
concernments, we can hardly ever be discontent in 
regard to these things. Considering heaven and 
its happiness, how low and mean, how sordid and 
vile, how unworthy of our care and our affection, 
will these inferior things appear ! how very uncon- 
cerned shall we see ourselves to be in them, and how 
easily thence shall we be content to want them ! 
What, shall any of us be then ready to say, doth 
it concern me in what rank or garb I pass my few 
days here ? what considerable interest can I have in 
this uncertain and transitory state ? what is any loss, 
any disgrace, any cross in this world to me, who am 
a citizen of heaven, who have a capacity and hope of 
the immense riches, the incorruptible glories, the 
perfect and endless joys of eternity? This was that 

u Vid. Greg. Naz. Ep. ccxm. ad Theclam. [Opp. Tom. n. 
p. 185.] ™ 

112 Of Contentment. 

serm. which sustained the holy Apostles in all their dis- 


'tresses; For this cause, saith St Paul, we faint 

16 fee. 1 - 7 ' noi — while we look not on the things which are seen, 
v - "'■ but on the things which are not seen; for the things 
which are seen are temporal, but the things which 
Rom. viii. are not seen are eternal; and, I reckon, saith he 
again, that the sufferings of this present life are not 
worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be 
revealed in us. 

If likewise we do with faith and seriousness 
consider the dismal state below of those, who are 
eternally" secluded from all joy and bliss, who are 
irrecoverably condemned to utter darkness and the 
extremity of horrible pain, how tolerable, how plea- 
sant, how very happy will the meanest state here 
appear to be! how vain a thing will it then seem 
to us to be, to dislike, or to be troubled with any 
worldly thing; to account any chance happening 
to us to be sad or disastrous! What, shall we say 
then, each of us, is this same loss to the loss of 
my soul and all its comforts for ever? what is 
this want to the perpetual want of heavenly bliss ? 
what is this short and faint pain to the cruel pangs 
Matt. xxii. of endless remorse, to the weeping and gnashing 
isai. of teeth in outward darkness, to everlasting burn- 

XXxiii. T 4 . ingg> 

Thus infinitely silly and petty must all concern- 
ments of this life appear to him, who is possessed 
with the belief and consideration of matters relat- 
ing to the future state; whence discontent, in re- 
gard to them, can hardly find access to his mind. 

3 Constant devotion is an excellent instru- 
ment and guard of content, an excellent remedy 
and fence against discontent. 

Of Contentment. 113 

It is such in way of impetration, procuring the seem. 

removal or alleviation of our crosses : for God hath ' 

promised that, He will give good things to those that Matt. vu. 
ask him; The Lord is nigh unto all that call upon p s '. cxiv. 
him in truth; he will fulfil the desire of them that jamesiv.s. 
fear him; he also will hear their cry, and will save g s ' c ^ xl g' 
them. The poor man crieth, and the Lord heareth 
him, and saveth him out of all his troubles; the 
holy scripture is full of such declarations and pro- 
mises, assuring us of succour from our distresses 
upon our supplication to God; whence St Paul 
thus adviseth against all solicitude ; Be careful for PhiL iv - 6 > 
nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplica- (Ps. xxv. 
tion with thanksgiving let your requests be made i, 4,17; 
known to God: and (addeth, signifying the conse- x 1V ' 
quence of this practice) the peace of God, which 
passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts 
and minds through Christ Jesus. 

It likewise performeth the same by procuring 
grace and aid from God, which may enable and 
dispose us to bear all evils well, which is really 
much better than a removal of them ; for that x Cor - x - 
hence they become wholesome and profitable to us, 
and causes of present good, and grounds of future 
reward : thus when St Paul besought God for 2 Cor - xii - 
deliverance from his thorn in the flesh, the return 
to him was; My grace is sufficient for thee; for 
my strength is made perfect in weakness; it was a 
greater favour to receive an improvement of spiri- 
tual strength, occasioned by that cross, than to be 
quite freed from it. 

Devotion also hath immediately of itself a 
special efficacy to produce content. As in any dis- 
tress it is a great consolation, that we can have 
b. s. VOL. III. 8 

114 Of Contentment. 

serm. recourse to a good friend, that we may discharge 

— our cares and our resentments into his bosom ; that 

we may demand advice from him, and, if need be, 
request his succour; so much more it must be a 
great comfort, that we can in our need approach to 
God, who is infinitely the most faithful, the most 
affectionate, the most sufficient friend that can be; 
always most ready, most willing, most able to direct 
Ps. ixxvii. a nd to relieve us : he desires and delights, that 

i' xxvii. 8* 

cv. 4 ;ixii.8.' in the day of our trouble we should seek him; 
i 5 . m ' '' that we should pour forth our hearts before him ; 
1 Pet! v?7 t na, t we should cast our burdens and our cares upon 
Ps. y. 8 ; him • ^at we should, upon all occasions, implore 

xxvii. 11; ' ■>• ' *■ 

xxxi. 3 ; his guidance and aid : and complying with his 
cxxxix. 24; desires, as we shall assuredly find a successful event 
ixi. 2. " of our devotions, so we shall immediately enjoy 

Jer. xxxi. , n • -1 i , i 

9 . great comfort and pleasure m them. 

Rom. xv. The God of all consolation doth especially by 
this channel convey his comforts into our hearts; 
his very presence (that presence, in which the 

Ps.xvi.n. Psalmist saith, There is fulness of joy) doth mightily 
warm and cheer us; his Holy Spirit doth, in our 
religious intercourse with him, insinuate a light- 
some serenity of mind, doth kindle sweet and 
kindly affections, doth scatter the gloomy clouds 
of sadness ; practising it, we shall be able to say 

Ps. xciv. with the Psalmist, In the multitude of my thoughts 
within me thy comforts delight my soul. 

Humbly addressing ourselves to God, and re- 
verently conversing with him, doth compose our 
minds and charm our passions, doth sweeten our 
humour, doth refresh and raise our spirits, and so 
doth immediately breed and nourish contented- 


Of Contentment. 115 

It also strengthened our faith, and quickeneth seem. 
our hope in God, whereby we are enabled to sup- — _ — -' 
port our present evils, and peace of mind doth 3 sa1 ' xxvl ' 
spring up within us. 

It inflameth our love unto God, in sense of pb . i™h. 

. .... 20;; 

his gracious illapses, thence rendering us willing xxxiii. 4 ; 
to endure any want or pain for his sake, or at his 

It, in fine, doth minister a ravishing delight, 
abundantly able to supply the defect of any other 
pleasures, and to allay the smart of any pains 
whatever; rendering thereby the meanest estate 
more acceptable and pleasant than any prosperity 
without it can be. So that if we be truly devout, 
we can hardly be discontent ; it is discosting from 
God, by a neglect of devotion or by a negligence 
therein, that doth expose us to the incursions of 
worldly regret and sorrow. 

These are general remedies and duties both in 
this and all other regards necessary, the which yet 
we may be induced to perform, in contemplation of 
this happy fruit (contentedness) arising from them. 

4 It serveth toward production of contented- 
ness to reflect much upon our imperfection, un- 
worthiness, and guilt; so as thereby to work in 
our hearts a lively sense of them, and a hearty 
sorrow for them : this will divert our sadness into its 
right channel, this will drown our lesser grief by the 
influx of a greater. It is the nature of a greater 
apprehension or pain incumbent to extinguish in 
a manner, and swallow up the sense of a lesser, 
although in itself grievous; as he that is under a 
fit of the stone doth scarce feel a pang of the gout ; 


116 Of Contentment. 

serm. he that is assaulted by a wolf will not regard the 

-^ ' biting of a flea. Whereas then, of all evils and 

mischiefs, moral evils are incomparably far the 
greatest, in nature the most ugly and abominable, 
in consequence the most hurtful and horrible; 
seeing, in St Chrysostom's language, Excepting 
sin, there is nothing grievous or terrible among 
human things; not poverty, not sickness, not disgrace, 
not that which seemeth the most extreme of all evils, 
death itself; those being names only among such as 
philosophate, names of calamity, void of reality ; but 
the real calamity this, to be at variance with God, 
and to do that which displeaseth him x ; seeing evi- 
dently, according to just estimation, no evil beareth 
any proportion to the evil of sin, if we have a due 
sense thereof we can hardly be affected with any 
other accident; if we can keep our minds intent 
upon the heinous nature and the lamentable con- 
sequences of sin, all other evils cannot but seem 
exceedingly light and inconsiderable; we cannot 
but apprehend it a very silly and unhandsome 
thing to resent or regard them: what, shall we 
then judge, is poverty, in comparison to the want 
of a good conscience ? what is sickness, compared to 
distemper of mind and decay of spiritual strength ? 
what is any disappointment, to the being defeated 
and overthrown by temptation ? what any loss, to 
the being deprived of God's love and favour? what 

x Oi8(V btivov tu>v av6pa>iriv<ov, dXX' j; apapTia povq' ov irtvla, ov 
votros, ov% vfipis, ovk iirypcia, ovk wripia, ov to ttoutodv doKovv taYarov 
fivai tcov kokcov, 6 Bauaros. ovopara yap ravra \idvov io-t\ toIs duAo- 
o-o(povo-r o-vpcpopaiv ovofiara, irpaypaTav fprjpa' rj Se akrjOf]^ crvp<popa, 

to npoo-Kpovcrat Oea, Kal noifjo-ai ti twv pr) Sokovvtoov avTcii. Chrys. 

Avo-p. €■ [Opp. Tom. vi. p. 492.] Vid. ad OJymp. Ep. xin. Tom. 
vii. ad Theod. i. Tom. vi. 

Of Contentment. 117 

any disgrace, to the being out of esteem and serm. 

respect with God? what any unfaithfulness or in- ' 

constancy of friends, to having deserted or betrayed 
our own soul? what can any danger signify to that 
of eternal misery, incurred by offending God? what 
pressure can weigh against the load of guilt, or 
what pain equal that of stinging remorse? in fine, 
what condition can be so bad as that of a wretched 
sinner? any case surely is tolerable, is desirable, is 
lovely and sweet, in comparison to this : would to 
God, may a man in this case reasonably say, that 
I were poor and forlorn as any beggar; that I 
were covered all over with botches and blains as 
any lazar; that I were bound to pass my days in 
an hospital or a dungeon; might I be chained to 
an oar, might I lie upon the rack, so I were clear 
and innocent: such thoughts and affections, if re- 
flecting on our sinful doings and state do suggest 
and impress, what place can there be for resent- 
ment of other petty crosses? 

Contrition also upon this score is productive of 
a certain sweetness and joy, apt to quash or to 
allay all worldly grief: as it worketh a salutary 2 Cor. vu. 
repentance not to be repented of, so it therewith I0 ' 
breedeth a satisfactory comfort, which doth ever 
attend repentance y : he that is very sensible of his 
guilt, cannot but consequently much value the 
remedy thereof, mercy; and thence earnestly be 
moved to seek it ; then, in contemplation of divine 
goodness, and considering God's gracious promises, 
will be apt to conceive faith and hope, upon his 
imploring mercy and resolution to amend ; thence 
will spring up a cheerful satisfaction, so possessing 

y Vid. Chrys. ad Demet. et ad Stclech. Tom. vi. 

118 Of Contentment. 

serm. the heart, as to expel or to exclude other displea- 

XXXVII > it x 

\ sures : a holy and a worldly sadness cannot well 

consist together. 

5 Another good instrument of contentedness 
is sedulous application of our minds to honest em- 
ployment. Honest studies and cares divert our 
minds, and drive sad thoughts from them: they 
cheer our spirits with wholesome food and pleasant 
entertainments ; they yield good fruits, and a suc- 
cess accompanied with satisfaction, which will ex- 
tinguish or temper discontent: while we are stu- 
dious or active, discontent cannot easily creep in, 
and soon will be stifled. 

Idleness is the great mother and the nurse of 
discontent : it layeth the mind open for melancholy 
conceits to enter; it yieldeth harbour to them, and 
entertainment there ; it depriveth of all the reme- 
dies and allays which business affordeth. 

Reciprocally, discontent also begetteth idleness, 
and by it groweth; they are like ice and water, 
arising each out of the other : we should therefore 
not suffer any sadness so to encroach upon us, as 
to hinder us from attending to our business, (the 
honest works and studies of our calling,) for it 
thereby will grow stronger and more hardly vin- 

6 A like expedient to remove discontent is 
good company 35 It not only sometimes ministereth 
advices and arguments for content, but raiseth the 
drooping spirit, erecting it to a loving complaisance, 
drawing it out towards others in expressions of 
kindness, and yielding delight in those which we 

z 'AyaOtj Se irapalcpacris icrriv iralpov. — 

[Horn. II. xi. 792.] 

Of Contentment. 119 

receive from others, infecting us by a kind of conta- seem. 

. . . . XXXVII 

gion with good humour, and instilling pleasant ideas 1 

into our fancy, agreeably diverting us from sad and 
irksome thoughts : discontent affecteth retirement 
and solitude, as its element and food; good com- 
pany partly starveth it by smothering sad thoughts, 
partly cureth it by exhilarating discourse. No 
man hardly can feel displeasure, while friendly 
conversation entertaineth him; no man returneth 
from it without some refreshment and ease of 

7 Having right and lowly conceits of ourselves 
is a most sure guardian and procurer of content : 
for answerable to a man's judgment of himself are 
his resentments of the dealing he meeteth with 
from God or man. He that thinks meanly, as 
he ought, of himself, will not easily be offended at 
any thing : any thing, will he think, is good enough 
for me ; I deserve nothing from God, I cannot de- 
serve much of man; if I have any competence of 
provision for my life, any tolerable usage, any re- 
spect, it is more than my due, I am bound to be 
thankful. But he that conceiteth highly (that is, 
vainly) of himself, nothing will satisfy him; no- 
thing, thinks he, is good enough for him, or 
answerable to his deserts; nobody can yield him 
sufficient respect; any small neglect disturbeth and 
enrageth him: he cannot endure that any man 
should thwart his interest, should cross his hu- 
mour, should dissent from his opinion; hence, see- 
ing the world will not easily be induced to conceit 
of him as he doth of himself, nor to comply with 
his humours and pretences, it is impossible that he 
should be content. 

120 Of Contentment. 

seem. 8 It conduceth to this purpose to contemplate 
- — - — ' and resent the public state of things, the interest 
of the world, of our country, of God's church. The 
sense of public calamities will drown that of private, 
as unworthy to be considered or compared with 
them ; the sense of public prosperity will allay that 
of particular misfortune. How (will a wise and 
good man say) can I desire to prosper and nourish, 
while the state is in danger or distress? how can I 
grieve, seeing my country is in good condition ? is 
it just, is it handsome, that I should be a noncon- 
formist either in the public sorrow or joy ? In- 

9 All hearty charity doth greatly alleviate 
discontent. If we bear such a good-will to our 
neighbour, as to have a sincere compassion of his 
evils and complacence in his good, our case will 
not much afflict us. If we can appropriate and en- 
joy the prosperity, the wealth, the reputation, of 
our neighbour, by delighting in them, what can we 
want, what can displease us? if our heart is en- 
larged in pity for the misfortunes of others, it can- 
not be contracted with grief for our own : our sor- 
row, like water, being thus diffused, cannot be so 
deep, but it will be more fruitful ; it will produce 
such effects as will comfort and please us: it is a 
stingy selfishness which maketh us so very sensible 
of crosses and so uncapable of comfort. 

io Again, if we will attain contentment, we 
must take heed of setting our affection upon any 
worldly thing whatever, so as very highly to prize 
it, very passionately to affect it, very eagerly to 
pursue it; so as to conceive our happiness in any 
measure to hang on it or stick thereto : if there be 

Of Contentment. 121 

any such thins:, we shall be disappointed in the seem, 


acquist or the retention of it ; or we shall be dissa 

tisfied in its enjoyment. 

So to adhere in affection to any thing is an 
adulterous disloyalty toward our Maker and best 
Friend, from which it is expedient that we should 
be reclaimed; whence God, in just anger or in 
kind mercy, will be apt to cross us in our attempts 
to get it, or to deprive us of its possession ; whence 
the displeasure will follow, which always attendeth 
a separation from things we love. But, if we be 
suffered to obtain or to retain it, we shall soon find 
dissatisfaction therein; being either disgusted with 
some bitterness in it, (such as doth lurk in every 
sensible good,) or being cloyed with its lusciousness : 
it, after a small enjoyment, will become either dis- 
tasteful or insipid. 

This, according to continual experience, is the 
nature of all things, pleasant only to sense or fancy, 
presently to satiate : no beauty can long please the 
eye, no melody the ear, no delicacy the palate, no 
curiosity the fancy; a little time doth waste away, 
a small use doth wear out the pleasure which at 
first they afford : novelty commendeth and ingra- 
tiateth them ; distance representeth them fair and 
lovely; the want or absence of them rendereth 
them desirable; but the presence of them dulleth 
their grace, the possession of them deadeneth the 
appetite to them. 

New objects with a gentle and grateful touch 
warble upon the corporeal organs, or excite the 
spirits into a pleasant frisk of motion ; but when 
use hath levigated the organs, or so pertunded 
them, that the spirits pass without any stop, those 

122 Of Contentment. 

serm. objects are no longer felt, or very faintly; so that 
— - the pleasure ceaseth. 

Only those things which reason (religious and 
sound reason) doth approve, do yield a lasting (un- 
decaying, unalterable) satisfaction ; if we set our 
affections on them, we cannot fail of content: in 
seeking them, we cannot be disappointed : for God 
(without any reservation or exception) hath pro- 
mised to bestow them upon those who seriously 
and diligently seek them : nor can we be dispos- 
sessed of them ; God will not take them away, and 
they lie beyond the reach of any other hand : hav- 
ing them, then, we cannot but fully and durably 
be satisfied in the fruition of them : the longer we 
have them, the more we shall like them ; the more 
we taste them, the better we shall relish them: 
time wasteth not, but improveth the sense of their 
unfading beauty and indefectible sweetness. 

ii It is of great influence toward contented- 
ness, with an earnest and impartial regard to con- 
template things as they are in themselves, divested 
of tragical appearances, in which they are wrapt by 
our own inconsiderate fancy, or which vulgar pre- 
judices do throw upon them: as all things, looked 
upon by the corporeal eye through a mist, do seem 
bigger than in reality they are ; so to the eye of 
our mind all things (both good and evil) seem 
hugely enlarged, when viewed through the fogs of 
our dusky imagination or of popular conceit. If 
we will esteem that very good, which with a gay 
appearance dazzleth our imagination, or which the 
common admiration and applause of men recom- 
mendeth, the most vain and worthless, the most 
dangerous, the most mischievous things often will 

Of Contentment. 123 

appear such: and if we please to account those sekm. 


things greatly bad, which look ugly or horridly to ' 

imagination, which are defamed by the injudicious 
part of men, or which men commonly do loathe, 
do fret at, do wail for, we shall take the best, most 
innocent, most useful, most wholesome things for 
such ; and accordingly these errors of our minds 
will be followed by a perverse practice, productive 
of dissatisfaction and displeasure to us. No man 
ever will be satisfied, who values things according 
to the price which fancy setteth on them, or 
according to the rate they bear in the common 
market; who distinguisheth not between good and 
famous, bad and infamous; who is affected accord- 
ingly with the want of those things which men 
call good, with the presence of those which they 
term bad. 

But if we judge of things, as God declareth, as 
impartial and cautious reason dictateth, as expe- 
rience diligently observed (by their fruits and con- 
sequences) discovereth them to be, we shall have 
little cause to be affected by the want or presence 
of any such thing which is wont to produce dis- 

12 "We should, to this purpose, take especial 
care to search out through our. condition, and pick 
thence the good that is therein, making the best 
we can of it, enjoying and improving it; but what 
is inconvenient or offensive therein declining it, 
diminishing it, tempering it so well as we may, 
always forbearing to aggravate it. There are in 
nature divers simples, which have in them some 
part or some juice very noxious, which being 
severed and cast away, the rest becometh whole- 

124 Of Contentment. 

seem, some food: neither indeed is there any thing in 

— - nature so venomous, but that from it, by art and 

industry, may be extracted somewhat medicinal 
and of good use when duly applied ; so in most 
ajyparent evils lieth enclosed much good, which if 
we carefully separate, (casting away the intermixed 
dross and refuse,) we shall find benefit, and taste 
comfort thence: there is nothing so thoroughly 
bad, as, being well ordered and opportunely minis- 
tered, will not do us much good : so if from poverty 
we cast away or bear quietly that which a little 
pincheth the sense or grateth on the fancy, and en- 
joy the undistractedness of mind, the liberty, the 
leisure, the health, the security from envy, obloquy, 
strife, which it affordeth, how satisfactory may it 
become to us! The like conveniences are in dis- 
grace, disappointment, and other such evils, which 
being improved may endear them to us : even sin 
itself (the worst of evils, the only true evil) may 
yield great benefits to us; it may render us sober 
and lowly in our own eyes, devout in imploring 
mercy, and thankful to God for it; merciful and 
charitable toward others in our opinions and cen- 
sures; more laborious in our good practice, and 
watchful over our steps : and if this deadly poison 
well administered yieldeth effects so exceedingly 
beneficial and salutary, what may other harmless 
(though unhandsome and unpleasant) things do, 
being skilfully managed ! 

13 It is a most effectual means of producing 
content, and curing discontent, to rouse and fortify 
our faith in God, by, with most serious attention, 
reflecting upon the arguments and experiments, 
which assure us concerning God's particular provi- 

Of Contentment. 125 

dence over all, over us. It is really infidelity (in seem. 


whole or in part, no faith, or a small and weak 

faith) which is at the root, as of all sin, so parti- 
cularly of discontent : for how is it possible, did we 
firmly believe, and with any measure of attention 
consider, that God taketh care of us, that he ten- 
dereth our good, that he is ready at hand to succour 
us, (how then, I say, is it possible,) that we should 
fear any want, or grievously resent any thing inci- 
dent? But we, like St Peter, are oXiyoirurroi, of little Matt. xiv. 
faith, therefore we cannot walk on the sea, but in 3I ' 
despair sink down : sometimes our faith is buried 
in oblivion or carelessness ; we forget, or mind not, 
that there is Providence ; but look on things as if 
they fell out casually or fatally ; thence expect no 
redress from Heaven, so tumble into despair and 
disconsolateness. Sometimes, because God doth 
not, in our time and our way, relieve us or gratify 
us, we slip into profane doubt, questioning in our 
hearts whether he doth indeed regard us, or whe- 
ther any relief is to be expected from him; not 
considering, that only God can tell when and how 
it is best to proceed ; that often it is not expedient 
our wishes should be granted ; that we are not wise 
enough or just enough to appoint or choose for our- 
selves ; that it is impossible for God to gratify every 
man ; that it would be a mad world, if God, in his 
government thereof, should satisfy all our desires. 
"We forget how often God hath succoured us in 
our needs and straits, how continually he hath 
provided for us, how patiently and mercifully he 
hath borne with us, what miracles of bounty and 
mercy he hath performed in our behalf; we are 
like that distrustful and inconsiderate people, Who Ps ,xxviii - 

126 Of Contentment. 

seem, remembered not the hand of God, nor the day when 

1 he delivered them; Remembered not the multitude of 

Ps. cvi. 7, his mercies; but soon forgot his works, and waited 

ver'. 2i ; not for his counsel ; They forgat God their Saviour, 

who had done great things in Egypt, wondrous 

works in the land of Ham, and terrible things in 

the Red sea. 

From such dispositions in us our discontents do 
spring ; and we cannot cure them, but by recollect- 
ing ourselves from such forgetfulness and negli- 
gence; by shaking off such wicked doubts and dis- 
trusts; by fixing our hearts and hopes on him who 
lxxiii. 26; alone can help us; who is our strength, the strength 
oxi. 7. ' of our heart, of our life, of our salvation. 

Of him (to conclude) let us us humbly implore, 
that he in mercy would bestow upon us grace to 
submit in all things to his will, to acquiesce in all 
his dispensations, gladly to embrace and undergo 
whatever he allotteth to us ; in every condition, 
and for all events befalling us, heartily to adore, 
thank, and bless him ; even so to the ever-blessed 
God, our gracious Maker and Preserver, be eter- 
nally rendered all glory, thanksgiving, and praise. 

xxu. 19 
xlvi. 1; 
lxxxi. 1 
lix. 17; 
cxliv. 1 



i Pet. II. 21. 

Because also Christ suffered for us, leaving us an 
example, that ye should follow his steps. 


N these words two things appear especially ob- serm. 
servable ; a duty implied, the duty of patience, ' 

and a reason expressed, which enforceth the prac- 
tice of that duty, the example of Christ. We shall, 
using no more preface or circumstance, first briefly, 
in way of explication and direction, touch the duty 
itself, then more largely describe and urge the 

The word patience hath, in common usage, a 
double meaning, taken from the respect it hath 
unto two sorts of objects, somewhat different. As 
it respecteth provocations to anger and revenge by 
injuries or discourtesies, it signifieth a disposition 
of mind to bear them with charitable meekness ; as 
it relateth to adversities and crosses disposed to us 
by Providence, it importeth a pious undergoing 
and sustaining them. That both these kinds of 
patience may here be understood, we may, consult- 
ing and considering the context, easily discern: 
that which immediately precedeth, If when ye do 
well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is 
acceptable to God, relateth to good endurance of 

1 28 Of Patience. 

sebm. adversity : that which presently followeth, Who when 


' he was reviled, reviled not again, when he suffered, he 

threatened not, referreth to meek comporting with 
provocations: the text therefore, as it looketh 
backward, doth recommend the patience of adver- 
sities, as forward, the patience of contumelies. 
But seeing both these objects are reducible to one 
more general, comprising both, that is, things 
seeming evil to us, or offensive to our sense, we 
may so explicate the duty of patience, as to include 
them both. 

Patience, then, is that virtue which qualifieth 
us to bear all conditions and all events, by God's 
disposal incident to us, with such apprehensions 
and persuasions of mind, such dispositions and 
affections of heart, such external deportments and 
practices of life, as God requireth and good reason 
directeth. Its nature will, I conceive, be under- 
stood best by considering the chief acts which it 
produceth, and wherein especially the practice, 
thereof consisteth ; the which briefly are these : 

i A thorough persuasion, that nothing befal- 
leth us by fate, or by chance, or by the mere agency 
of inferior causes, but that all proceedeth from the 
dispensation, or with the allowance of God; that, 

jobv. 6. Affliction doth not come forth of the dust, nor doth 
trouble spring out of the ground ; but that all, both 

Lam. iii. good and evil, proceedeth out of the mouth of the 
Most High, according as David reflected when 

i Sam. Shimei reviled him : Let him, saith the good king, 
curse, because the Lord hath said unto him, Curse 
David; and as Job, when he was spoiled of all 

Job i. 2i. his goods, acknowledged, The Lord gave, and the 
Lord hath taken away. 

Of Patience. 129 

2 A firm belief, that all occurrences, however seem. 

. .. n • , XXXVIII. 
adverse and cross to our desires, are well consistent 

with the justice, wisdom, and goodness of God; so 

that we cannot reasonably disapprove, repine at, 

or complain of them ; but are bound and ready to 

avow with the Psalmist, that, All his paths are Ps - xxv - 

. . . 7 , . IO ; cx iv. 

mercy and truth; he is righteous in all his ways, 17- 

and holy in all his ivorks : to judge and say with 

Hezekiah, Good is the word of the Lord, which thou •> Kings 

hast spoken; to confess with David unto him, /pV.cxix. 

know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that 75 ' 

thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. 

3 A full satisfaction of mind, that all (even 
the most bitter and sad accidents) do (according 
to God's purpose) tend and conduce to our good; 
acknowledging the truth of those divine aphorisms : 
Happy is the man whom God correcteth ; Whom the Job v. 17. 
Lord loveth he correcteth, even as a father the son 12. 

in whom he delighteth; As many as I love, I re- f 2 rov ' m ' 

buJce and chasten. ^ eh ?} 16 - 


4 An entire submission and resignation of our 
wills to the will of God, suppressing all rebellious 
insurrections and grievous resentments of heart 
against his providence; which may dispose us 
heartily to say after our Lord, Let not my will, Luke xxii. 
hut thine be done; with good Eli, Lt is the Lord, ? 2 g am> m. 
let him do what seemeth him good; with David, l8- 
Here I am, let him do to me as seemeth good to 2 Sam. xv. 
him; yea, even with Socrates, If so it pleaseth God, 

so let it be 3, 

5 Bearing adversities calmly, cheerfully, and 
courageously, so as not to be discomposed with anger 
or grief; not to be put out of humour, not to be 

a [Et tcivtt) rols 0eois (friXov, ravTrj eVr<o. — Plat. Crito. 43 T>.] 
B. S. VOL. III. 9 

130 Of Patience. 

serm. dejected or disheartened; but in our disposition of 

"Y "V "V \ T T T T 

-"- -'mind to resemble the primitive saints, who were, 
2 Cor. vi. *q ? Xvwovfxevoi, del Si x a ' l p OVT ^> As grieved, but always 
Heb.x.34. rejoicing; who took joyfully the spoiling of their 
James i. 7. goods, who accounted it all joy when they fell into 
divers tribulations. 

6 A hopeful confidence in God for the removal 

or easement of our afflictions, and for his gracious 

aid to support them well ; agreeable to those good 

Lam. iii. rules and precepts : It is good that a man should 

both hope, and wait quietly for the salvation of the 

Ps. xxxvii. Lord ; Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for 

xxvii. 14. him ; Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and 

he shall strengthen thine heart; according to the 

pattern of David, who, in such a case, thus roused 

Ps. xiii. 5. and stayed himself: Why art thou cast down, 

my soul, and why art thou disquieted within me? 

hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise him for 

the help of his countenance; and after the holy 

Apostles, who in their most forlorn estate could say, 

2Cor.iv.8. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; 

tve are perplexed, but not in despair ; persecuted, 

but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed. 

7 A willingness to continue, during God's 
pleasure, in our afflicted state, without weariness 
or irksome longings for alteration; according to 

Prov. m. that advice of the Wise Man ; My son, despise not 
the chastening of the Lord, neither be weary of his 
correction; and that of the Apostle, backed with 

Heb.xii.3. our Lord's example, Considering him that endured 
such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest 
ye be weary and faint in your minds. 

8 A lowly frame of mind (that is, being sober 
in our conceits of ourselves, sensible of our un- 

Of Patience. 131 

worthiness and meanness, of our natural frailty, sbm. 

• r* t r* jL-A-A. V.L11. 

penury, and wretchedness ; of our manifold defects 

and miscarriages in practice; being meek and 
gentle, tender and pliable in our temper and frame 
of spirit; being deeply affected with reverence and 
dread toward the awful majesty, mighty power, 
perfect justice and sanctity of God; all this) 
wrought by our adversity, effectually, according to 
its design, quelling our haughty stomach, soften- 
ing our hard hearts, mitigating our peevish hu- 
mours; according to St Peter's injunction, i?e 1 Pet. v. 6. 
humbled under the mighty hand of God; and God's 
own approbation joined with a gracious promise, 
To this man will I look ; even to him that is of a isai.ixvi.2. 
poor and contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. 
9 Restraining, our tongues from all discon- 
tentful complaints and murmurings, all profane, 
harsh, unsavoury expressions, importing displea- 
sure or dissatisfaction in God's dealings toward 
us, arguing desperation or distrust in him; such 
as were those of the impatient and incredulous 
Israelites They spaJce against God, and said, Can Ps. lxxvm. 
God furnish a table in the wilderness? Behold, 
he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and 
the streams over/lowed ; can he give bread also ? 
can he provide flesh for his people? Such as 
they used, of whom the Prophet said, When 
they shall be hungry, they will fret themselves, isai. vui. 
and curse their king and their God; such as they 21 ' 
were guilty of, whom St Jude calleth Voyyvo-Tas 
/cat /txetx^'iiJLoipovs, Murmur ers and querulous per- Jude 16. 
sons, (or such as found fault with their lot,) 
that which is- styled, charging God foolishly ; for 
abstaining from which, notwithstanding the pres- 

9 — 2 

132 Of Patience. 

serm. sure of his most grievous calamities, Job is com- 
— ; ' mended, (where it is said, Job sinned not, neither 

charged God foolishly ;) that which the Prophet con- 

demneth as unreasonable in that expostulation, 
Lam. iii. Wherefore doth the living man complain? In such 
Ps. xxxvii. cases we should smother our passions in a still and 
i v. 4 ; ' silent demeanour, as the Psalmist advised, and as 
xxxix. 9. he practised himself: / was dumb, saith he, and 

opened not my mouth, because it was thy doings. 

Yea, contrariwise, patience requireth, 

10 Blessing and praising God, (that is, de- 
claring our hearty satisfaction in God's proceedings 
with us, acknowledging his wisdom, justice, and 
goodness therein, expressing a grateful sense there- 
of, as wholesome and beneficial to us,) in conformity 
to Job, who, upon the loss of all his comforts, did 

Jobi. 21. thus vent his mind: The Lord gave, and the Lord 
hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. 

11 Abstaining from all irregular and un- 
worthy courses toward the removal or redress of 
our crosses ; choosing rather to abide quietly under 
their pressure, than by any unwarrantable means 
to relieve or relax ourselves; contentedly wearing, 

Jer. v. 5 ; rather than violently breaking our yoke, or bursting 
our bonds ; rather continuing poor, than striving to 
enrich ourselves by fraud or rapine; rather lying 
under contempt, than by sinful or sordid compli- 
ances attempting to gain the favour and respect of 
men ; rather embracing the meanest condition, than 
labouring by any turbulent, unjust, or uncharitable 
practices to amplify our estate; rather enduring 

*-iH. 15. any inconvenience or distress, than setting our 
faces toward Egypt, or having recourse to any 
succour which God disalloweth ; according to what 

Of Patience. 133 

is implied in that reprehension of St Paul, Now sekm.^ 

therefore it is utterly a fault among you, because ye — 

go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather 7 . 
take wrong ? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves 
to be defrauded? and in that advice of St Peter, 
Let them that suffer according to the will of God i Pet. iv. 
commit the keeping of their soids to him in well- 
doing, as unto afaithfid Creator. 

12 A fair behaviour toward the instruments 
and abettors of our affliction; those who brought 
us into it, or who detain us under it, by keeping 
off relief, or sparing to yield the succour which we 
might expect ; the forbearing to express any wrath 
or displeasure, to exercise any revenge, to retain 
any grudge or enmity toward them; but rather, 
even upon that score, bearing good-will, and shew- 
ing kindness unto them; unto them, not only as 
to our brethren, whom, according to the general 
law of charity, we are bound to love, but as to the 
servants of God in this particular case, or as to the 
instruments of his pleasure toward us; considering, 
that by maligning or mischiefing them, we do sig- 
nify ill resentment of God's dealings with us, and, 
in effect, through their sides do wound his provi- 
dence : thus did the pious king demean himself, 2 Sam - Ilrf - 
when he was bitterly reproached and cursed by 
Shimei; not suffering, upon this account, any harm 
or requital to be offered to him : thus did the holy 
Apostles, who, Being reviled, did bless; being per- l Cor - iv - 
secuted, did bear it; being defamed, did entreat: 
thus did our Lord deport himself toward his spite- 
ful adversaries, Who being reviled, did not revile 1 p et ; »• 
again; when he suffered, did not threaten; but com- 
mitted it to him that judgeth righteously. 

134 Of Patience. 

seem. 13 Particularly in regard to those, who, by 
injurious and offensive usage, do provoke us, pa- 
tience importeth, 

(1) That we be not hastily, over easily, not 
immoderately, not pertinaciously incensed with 
anger toward them, according to those divine pre- 
James i. cepts and aphorisms : Be slow to wrath; Be not 
Eccies. vii. hasty in thy spirit to be angry; for anger resteth in 
p'rov. xvi. the bosom of fools. Give place to wrath, (that is, 
32; xiv. remove it). Bet all bitterness, and ivrath, and 
Rom. xii. anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put 
E P h. iv. away from you, with all malice. Cease from an- 
Coi.'m'. 8. ger, let go displeasure, fret not thyself anywise to do 

Matt. v. "i 

21, 24. evu. 

p s . xxxvn. ^ That we do not in our hearts harbour any 
ill will, or ill wishes, or ill designs toward them, 
but that we truly desire their good, and purpose to 
further it, as we shall have ability and occasion, 
according to that law, (even charged on the Jews,) 

Levit. xix. Thou shalt not bear any grudge against the children 
of thy people; but thou shalt love thy neighbour as 
thyself; and according to that noble command 

Matt.v.44. of our Saviour, Love your enemies, prau for them 

.Luke vi. 7 • 7 7 • /• 77 

27. which despitejully use you and persecute you. 

(3) That, in effect, we do not execute any 

revenge, or for requital do any mischief to them, 

either in word or deed; but for their reproaches, 

exchange blessings, (or good words and wishes;) for 

their outrages, repay benefits and good turns; ac- 

Matt.v.44, cording to those evangelical rules: Do good to them 

ifom. xii. that hate you, bless them that curse you: Bless them 

^Thess.vfhat persecute you; bless, and curse not: See that 

!p,-t.iii. none ren(ler evil for evil: Be pit fid, be courteous, 

9- not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing, but 

Of Patience. 1 35 

contrariwise blessing: If thine enemy hunger, feed s^rm^ 

him; if he thirst, give him drink: Say not, I will 

do to him as he hath done to me; I will render to J. 
the man according to his work: Say thou not, 1 2O 0m ' xu " 
will recompense evil; but wait on the Lord, and he Jj° v - xxxv - 
shall save thee. xx - 23- 

14 In fine, patience doth include and produce 
a general meekness and kindness of affection, to- 
gether with an enlarged sweetness and pleasantness 
in conversation and carriage toward all men; im- 
plying, that how hard soever our case, how sorry or 
sad our condition is, we are not therefore angry 
with the world, because we do not thrive or flourish 
in it ; that we are not dissatisfied or disgusted with 
the prosperous estate of other men; that we are 
not become sullen or froward toward any man, be- 
cause his fortune excelleth ours, but that rather 
we do rejoice with them that rejoice; we do find Rom. xii. 
complacence and delight in their good success; * 
we borrow satisfaction and pleasure from their en- 

In these and the like acts, the practice of this 
virtue (a virtue which all men, in this state of in- 
ward weakness and outward trouble, shall have 
much need and frequent occasion to exercise) con- 
sisteth ; unto which practice, even philosophy, 
natural reason, and common sense do suggest many 
inducements ; the tenor of our holy faith and Reli- 
gion do supply more and better; but nothing can 
more clearly direct, or more powerfully excite there- 
to, than that admirable example, by which our 
text doth enforce it : some principal of those rational 
inducements we shall cursorily touch, then insist 
upon this example. 

136 Of Patience. 

serm. It will, generally, induce us to bear patiently 


— -all things incident, if we consider, that it is the 

natural right and prerogative of God to dispose of 
all things, to assign our station here, and allot our 
portion to us; whence it is a most wrongful inso- 
lence in us, by complaining of our state, to contest 
his right or impeach his management thereof: that 
we are obliged to God's free bounty for numberless 
great benefits and favours ; whence it is vile ingra- 
titude to be displeased for the want of some lesser 
conveniences: that God having undertaken and 
promised to support and succour us, it is a heinous 
affront to distrust him, and consequently to be dis- 
satisfied with our condition : that seeing God doth 
infinitely better understand what is good for us 
than we can do, he is better affected toward us and 
more truly loveth us than we do ourselves, he with 
an unquestionable right hath an uncontrollable 
power to dispose of us; it is most reasonable to 
acquiesce in his choice of our state : that since we 
have no claim to any good or any pleasure, and 
thence, in withholding any, no wrong is done to us, 
it is unjust and frivolous to murmur or grumble . 
since we are, by nature, God's servants, it is fit 
the appointment of our rank, our garb, our diet, 
all our accommodations and employments in his 
family, should be left entirely to his discretion and 

Gen. xxxii. pleasure : that we being grievous sinners, less than 
the least of God's mercies, meriting no good, but 
deserving sore punishment from him, it is just 
that we should be highly content and thankful for 
any thing on this side death and damnation : that 
our afflictions being the natural fruits and results 
of our choice or voluntary miscarriages, it is reason- 

Of Patience. 137 

able we should blame ourselves, rather than pick serm. 


quarrels with Providence for them. That our con- ' 

dition, be it what it will, cannot, being duly esti- 
mated, be extremely bad or insupportably grievous ; 
for that as no condition here is perfectly and purely 
good, (not deficient in some accommodations, not 
blended with some troubles,) so there is none that 
hath not its conveniences and comforts ; for that it 
is our fond conceits, our froward humours, our per- 
verse behaviours, which create the mischiefs ad- 
herent to any state; for that also how forlorn 
soever our case is, we cannot fail, if we please, of a 
capacity to enjoy goods far more than countervail- 
ing all possible want of these goods, or presence of 
these evils ; we may have the use of our reason, a 
good conscience, hope in God, assurance of God's 
love and favour, abundance of spiritual blessings 
here, and a certain title to eternal glory and bliss 
hereafter ; which, if we can have, our condition can- 
not be deemed uncomfortable. That, indeed, our 
adversity is a thing very good and wholesome, very 
profitable and desirable, as a means of breeding, 
improving, and exercising the best virtues, of pre- 
paring us for and entitling us to the best rewards. 
That our state cannot ever be desperate ; our ad- 
versity, probably, may not be lasting, (there being 
no connection between the present and the future, 
vicissitudes being frequent, all things depending on 
the arbitrary dispensation of God, who doth always 
pity us, and is apt to relieve us). That, how- 
ever, our affliction will not outlive ourselves, and, 
certainly, must soon expire with our life. That 
this world is not a place of perfect convenience, 
or pure delight; we come not hither to do our 

138 Of Patience. 

seem, will, or enjoy our pleasure; we are not born to 

' " ' make laws, or pick our condition here ; but that 

job v. 7. trouble is natural and proper to us ( We are 
1 Cor. x. torn thereto, as the sparks fly upwards) No 
tribulation seizeth us, but such as is human; whence 
it is reasonable, that we contentedly bear the 
crosses suitable to our nature and state. That 
no adversity is, in kind or degree, peculiar to us ; 
but if we survey the conditions of other men, (of 
our brethren every where, of our neighbours all 
about us,) and compare our case with theirs, we 
shall find, that we have many consorts and asso- 
ciates in adversity, most as ill, many far worse 
bestead than ourselves ; whence it must be a great 
fondness and perverseness to be displeased, that we 
are not exempted from, but exposed to bear a share 
in the common troubles and burdens of mankind. 
That it hath particularly been the lot of the best 
men (persons most excellent in virtue and most 
deep in God's favour) to sustain adversity; and it, 
therefore, becometh us willingly and cheerfully to 
accept it. That, in fine, patience itself is the best 
remedy to ease us in, to rescue us from adversity ; 
for it cannot much annoy us, if we bear it patiently; 
God will, in mercy, remove it, if we please him, by 
demeaning ourselves well under it ; but that impa- 
tience doth not at all conduce to our relief, doth, 
indeed, exasperate and augment our pain such con- 
siderations may induce us to a patience in general 
respecting all sorts of evil. 

There are also reasons particularly disposing 
to bear injuries and contumelies from men calmly 
and meekly, without immoderate wrath, rancorous 
hatred, or spiteful revenge toward them: because 

Of Patience. 139 

they do proceed from Divine Providence, disposing seem. 

or permitting them (for the trial of our patience, 

the abasing our pride, the exercising of some other 
virtues, or for other good purposes) to fall upon 
us : because vindication of misdemeanours com- 
mitted against us doth not appertain to us, we 
not being competent judges of them, nor rightful 
executors of the punishments due to them, God 
having reserved to himself the right of decision 
and power of execution ; Vengeance is mine, saith Rom. xn. 
the Lord, I will repay it b : because we are obliged Heb.x. 30. 
to interpret charitably the actions of our neighbour, x ^\i 3Sj 
supposing his miscarriages to proceed from infirm- i6 ' 
ity, from mistake, or from some cause, which we 
should be rather inclinable to excuse, than to pro- 
secute with hatred or revenge : because, indeed, our 
neighbour's most culpable offences, as issuing from 
distemper of mind, are more reasonably the objects 
of compassion and charity, than of anger or ill will : 
because we are bound to forgive all injuries by the 
command of God, and in conformity to his example, 
who passeth by innumerable, most heinous offences 
committed against himself; Gracious is the Lord, Ps.cxiv.8; 
and full of compassion, slow to anger, and of great 
mercy; long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and 
truth; so must we be also, if we will be like him or 
please him : because we ourselves, being subject to 
incur the same faults in kind, or greater in value, 
do need much pardon, and should thence be ready 
to allow it unto others, both in equity, and in grati- 

Vid. Tert. de Patient, cap. x. [Quid ergo credimus judicem 
ilium, si non et ultorem ? Hoc se nobis repromittit dicens : Vin- 
dictam mihi, et ego vindicabo, id est, Patientiam mihi, et ego 
patientiam remunerabo. — Opp. p. 146 A.J 

140 Of Patience. 

tude toward God, lest that in the 

to us ; O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that 

SERM. tude toward God, lest that in the Gospel be applied 

JLA a V XX A, 

32. ' debt, because thou desiredst me: shouldest not thou 
also have had compassion upon thy fellow-servant, 
even as I had pity on thee? Because God hath 
made it a necessary condition of our obtaining 
mercy, promising us favour if we yield it, menacing 
Matt. Ti. us extremity, if we refuse it; If ye forgive men their 
Eccius. trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive 
Makiviii. yoii: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, 
iiarkxi. neither will your Father forgive your trespasses: 
25 • because our neighbour suffering by our revenge in 

any manner, (in his body, interest, or reputation,) 
doth not anywise profit us, or benefit our estate, 
but needlessly doth multiply and increase the 
stock of mischief in the world ; yea, commonly doth 
bring further evil upon ourselves, provoking him 
to go on in offending us, rendering him more 
implacably bent against us, engaging us conse- 
quently deeper in strife and trouble: because no 
wrong, no disgrace, no prejudice we can receive 
from men is of much consequence to us, if our 
mind be not disordered; if we are free from those 
bad passions, which really are the worst evils that 
can befall us : because, in fine, impatience itself is 
insignificant and ineffectual to any good purpose, 
or rather produceth ill effects ; it doth not cure 
our wound, or assuage our grief; it removeth no 
inconvenience, nor repaireth any damage we have 
received, but rather inflameth our distemper and 

c Nempe idcirco quis to lsedit ut doleas ; quia fructus Isedentis 
in dolore lcesi est. — Id. ibid. cap. vm. [Opp. p. 145 B.J 

Quod si patientiso incubabo, non dolebo ; si non dolebo, ulcisci 
non desiderabo. — Id.jbid. cap. x. [p. 140 b.] 

Of Patience. 141 

aggravateth our pain ; more really, indeed, molesting seem. 

and hurting us, than the injury or discourtesy which 

causeth it. Thus, briefly, doth reason dictate to us 
the practice of all patience. 

But the example proposed by the Apostle here, 
and otherwhere by St Paul, {Let the same mind be Phu. a. 5. 
in you, which was also in Christ Jesus — ) by the 
Apostle to the Hebrews, (Let us run with patience Het>. xii. 1, 
the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the 
author and finisher of our faith — ) by our Lord him- Matt. xi. 
self, {Learn of me, for L am meek and lowly — ) that 
doth, in a more lively manner, express how in such 
cases we should deport ourselves, and most strongly 
engageth us to comply with duties of this nature. 
Let us now, therefore, describe it, and recommend 
it to your consideration. 

The example of our Lord was, indeed, in this 
kind the most remarkable that ever was presented, 
the most perfect that can be imagined d : he was, 
above all expression, A man of sorrows and ac- isai. i™. 3. 
quainted with grief; he did undertake, as to perform 
the best works, so to endure the worst accidents 
to which human nature is subject; his whole life 
being no other than one continual exercise of 
patience and meekness, in all the parts and to the 
utmost degrees of them. If we trace the footsteps 
of his life from the sordid manger to the bloody 
cross, we shall not be able to observe any matter 
of complacence, scarce any of comfort (in respect to 
his natural or worldly state) to have befallen him. 

His parentage was mean, to appearance; and 
his birth, in all exterior circumstances, despicable: 

d Vid. Tert. de Pat. cap. m. [Opp. p. 141.] Cypr. de Pat. 
[Opp. p. 249.] 

142 Of Patience. 

seem. Is not this the carpenters son? were words of 
xxxviii . CQntem p t and ff ence? U pon all occasions thrown 

Matt. xiii. i • 

y upon him. 

Markvi.3. jj- s ufg was S p en t not only in continual labour 

and restless travel, but in hard poverty; yea, in ex- 
treme penury, beneath the state not only of the 

Matt. viii. meanest men, but of the most shifting beasts : The 
foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, 
but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. 

xxi. 1 8, 19. For his necessary sustenance we find him often 
destitute of ordinary provision, (as when he sought 
food from the barren fig-tree,) often indebted for 
it to the courtesy and, as it were, alms of the 

2 Cor. viii. vilest people, of publicans and sinners 6 : so, At mas 

9 ' e-rrTcoxevae, He was, as the Apostle saith, a beggar 

for us. 

Yet may we never perceive him anywise dis- 
contented with, or complaining of his condition ; 
not discouraged or depressed in spirit thereby, not 
solicitously endeavouring any correction or change 
thereof; but willingly embracing it, heartily ac- 
quiescing therein; and, notwithstanding all its 
inconveniences, cheerfully discharging his duties, 
vigorously pursuing his main designs of procuring 
glory to God and benefit to men. 

Nor did he only with content undergo the in- 
commodities of a poor estate, but he was surrounded 
with continual dangers; the most powerful men of 
those times, enraged with envy, ambition, and 
avarice, desperately maligning him, and being in- 
cessantly attentive, upon all occasions, to molest, 

John xv. kyj.^ an( j d es troy him: The world, (as he saith 

e Nullius racnsam tectumvo despexit. — Tert. [do Pat. cap. in. 
Opp. p. 141 A.J 

Of Patience. 143 

himself, that is, all the powerful and formidable sbrm. 

, . -. . XXXVIII- 

part of the world) hating me; yet did not this any 

wise dismay or distemper him, nor cause him either 
to repine at his condition or decline his duty He 
utterly disregarded all their spiteful machinations, 
persisting immoveable in the prosecution of his 
pious and charitable undertakings, to the admira- 
tion of those who observed his demeanour : Is not John vii - 


this he, said they, whom they seek to hill? but lo, he 
speaJceth boldly. 

He did, indeed, sometimes opportunely shun Luke iv. 
their fury, and prudently did elude their snares, Matt. xxi. 
but never went violently to repel them, or to ex- H' xxn ' 
ecute any revenge for them; improving the won- 
derful power he was endued with altogether to the 
advantage of mankind, never to the bane or hurt 
of his malicious enemies. 

Sensible enough he was of the causeless hatred 
they bare him, (' EfiiaTjadv ne Iwpeav, They, said he, Joim xv. 
have hated me for nothing,) and of their extreme 25 ' 
ingratitude; yet never could he be provoked to 
resent or requite their dealing : see how mildly he 
did expostulate the case with them; Then, saith St x - 3'- 
John, the Jews took up stones to stone him: Jesus 
answered them, Many good things have I shewed 
you from my Father; for which of those do ye 
stone me? 

To be extremely hated and inhumanly perse- 
cuted, without any fault committed or just occasion 
offered, is greatly incensive of human passion ; but 
for the purest and strongest good-will, for the most 
inexpressible beneficence, to be recompensed with 
most virulent reproaches, most odious slanders, 
most outrageous misusages — how exceeding was 

144 Of Patience. 

serm. that meekness, which, without any signification of 

XXXVIII. ' ' •."• 

regret or disgust, could endure it ! 

Matt.xxiii. Out of most tender charity and ardent desire 
37 " of their salvation, he instructed them, and instilled 

heavenly doctrine into their minds; what thanks, 
what reward did he receive for that great favour? 
John vii. to be reputed and reported an impostor : UXara t6v 
Matt. °X^°"> H e > sa ^ ^h ev 5 doth impose upon the people. 
xxvii. 63; jj e ^qqJj- occasion to impart the great blessing 

of pardon for sin to some of them, confirming his 
authority of doing it by a miraculous work of 
goodness ; how did they resent such an obligation ? 
ix. 3, &c. by accounting him a blasphemer : Behold, saith St 
Matthew, certain of the Scribes said within them- 
selves, This man blasphemeth: which most harsh 
and uncharitable censure of theirs he did not fiercely 
reprehend, but calmly discussed and refuted by a 

clear reasoning 1 ; 'lvari Vfxe7s evQufxeioOe Trovtjpd; 

Wherefore conceive ye evil in your hearts? for 
whether is easier to say, Thy sins are forgiven theef 
or to say, Arise and walk? that is, Is it not 
credible, that he who can perform the one may dis- 
pense the other? 

He freed them from most grievous diseases, 
yea, rescued them from the greatest mischief possible 

Acts x. 38. in nature, being possessed by the unclean fiend ; 
how did they entertain this mighty benefit? by 
most horrible calumny, accusing him of sorcery or 

Matt. ix. conspiracy with the Devil himself. The Pharisees 

' said, lie casteth out devils by the prince of the 

devils: yea, thence attributing to him the very 

x - 2 5; name and title of the grand Devil; If they have 

1 Ingratos curavit, insidiatoribus cessit. — Tert. [de Pat. cap. 
m. Opp. p. 141 A.] 

Of Patience. 145 

called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much seem 

more (shall they defame) them of his household? 

Yet this most injurious defamation he no otherwise 
rebuketh, than by a mild discourse strongly con- 
futing it ; Every kingdom, said he, divided against Matt. xii. 
itself is brought to desolation — and if Satan cast 
out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then 
shall his kingdom stand f that is, the Devil better 
understands his interest, than to assist any man in 
dispossessing himself. 

He did constantly labour in reclaiming them 
from error and sin, in converting them to God and 
goodness, in proposing fair overtures of grace 
and mercy to them, in shewing them by word and 
practice the sure way to happiness: What issue 
was there of all his care and pains? What but 
neglect, distrust, disappointment, rejection of him- 
self, of what he said, and what he did ? Who hath John xii. 

believed our report, and to tvhom hath the arm of 

the Lord been revealed f was a prophecy abund- 
antly verified by their carriage toward him. 

These and the like usages, which he perpetually 
did encounter, he constantly received without any 
passionate disturbance of mind, any bitter reflec- 
tions upon that generation, any revengeful enter- 
prises against them; yea, requited them with 
continued earnestness of hearty desires, and labo- 
rious endeavours for their good. 

We might observe the ingrateful disrespects 
of his own countrymen and kindred toward him, 
which he passeth over without any grievous dis- 
dain; rather excusing it, by noting that enter- 
tainment to have been no peculiar accident to 
himself, but usual to all of like employment; 
b. s. vol. in. 10 

146 Of Patience. 

seem. No prophet, said he, is acceptable in his own 

r — country. 

24 u eiv ' We might also mention his patient suffering 

Matt.xm. re p U i seg f rom strangers; as, when being refused 
admittance into a Samaritan village, and his dis- 
ciples, being incensed with that rude discourtesy, 
would have fire called down from heaven to con- 
sume those churls g , he restrained their unadvised 
wrath, and thus expressed his admirable meekness : 

Lukeix. The Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, 

but to save them. 

™ i 1 " ■• We might likewise remark his meek comport- 
Matt. XVll. » r 

J 7; ing with the stupid and perverse incredulity of his 

disciples^, notwithstanding so many pregnant and 
palpable inducements continually exhibited for con- 
firmation of their faith, the which he no otherwise 
than sometime gently admonisheth them of, saying, 

viii. 26; Tt SeiXol eare, oXiyoiricrTot; Why are ye fearful, 

xi v ^ 1 

V e of little faith? 'OXiyoiriare, els t'i eSiaraaas; 

thou of small faith, why didst thou doubt? 

What should I insist on these, although very 
remarkable instances, since that one scene of his 
most grievous (shall I say, or glorious) passion 
doth represent unto us a perfect and most lively 
image of the highest patience and meekness pos- 
sible; of the greatest sorrow that ever was or 
could be, yet of a patience surmounting it ; of the 
extremest malice that ever was conceived, yet of a 
charity overs waying it; of injury most intolerable, 
yet of a meekness willingly and sweetly bearing it : 

g Non illi saltern civitati quae eum recipere noluerat iratus est, 
cum etiam discipuli tarn contumelioso oppido coelestes ignes repre- 
Bcntari voluisscnt. — Tort, [do Pat. cap. hi. Opp. p. 141 a. J 

h Non peccatores, non publicanos aspernatus est. — Id. ibid. 

Of Patience. 147 

there may we observe the greatest provocations x B ^fn. 

from all hands to passionate animosity of spirit 

and intemperate heat of speech, yet no discovery of 
the least disorderly, angry, or revengeful thought, 
the least rash, bitter, or reproachful word; but 
all undergone with clearest serenity of mind, and 
sweetness of carriage toward all persons. 

To Judas, who betrayed him, how doth he 
address himself? Doth he use such terms as the 
man deserved, or as passion would have suggested, 
and reason would not have disallowed? Did he 
say, Thou most perfidious villain, thou monster of 
iniquity and ingratitude! thou desperately wicked 
wretch ! dost thou, prompted by thy base covetous- 
ness, treacherously attempt to ruin thy gracious 
Master and best Friend; thy most benign and 
bountiful Saviour? No; instead of such proper 
language, he useth the most courteous and endear- 
ing terms: 'Excuse, i<p' w irdpei; Friend, (or com- Matt.xxvi. 
panion,) for what dost thou gome? or what is thy 
business here? A tacit charitable warning there 
is to reflect upon his unworthy and wicked action, 
but nothing apparent of wrath or reproach. 

From his own disciples and servants, who had 
beheld his many miraculous works, and were in- 
debted to him for the greatest favours, he reason- 
ably might have expected a most faithful adherence 
and most diligent attendance on him in that junc- 
ture: yet he found them careless and slothful: 
What then? How did he take it? Was he angry, 
did he upbraid, did he storm at them, did he 
threaten to discard them ? No; he only first gently 
admonisheth them : What, could ye not watch one xxvi. 40, 
hour with me? then a little exciteth them, Watch 4I ' 


148 Of Patience. 

seem, and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: he 


" — -withal suggesteth an excuse for their drowsiness 

Matt. xxvi. and dulness; The spirit is willing, but the flesh is 
4I ' 45 ' weak: in fine, he indulgeth to their weakness, letting 
them alone, and saying, KaOevSere to Xonrov, Sleep 
on now, and take your rest. 

When he foresaw they would be offended at 
his (to appearance) disastrous estate, and fearfully 
would desert him, he yet expressed no indignation 
against them, or decrease of affection toward them 
upon that score; but simply mentioneth it, as un- 
concerned in it, and not affected thereby 

And the unworthy apostasy of that disciple, 
whom he had especially favoured and dignified, he 
only did mildly forewarn him of, requiting it fore- 
seen by the promise of his own effectual prayers 
for his support and recovery; and when St Peter 
had committed that heinous fact, our good Lord 
Lukexxii. only looked on 'him with an eye of charity and 
'' 2 ' compassion, which more efficaciously struck him, 
than the most dreadful threat or sharp reprehen- 
sion could have done: Peter thereupon went out, 
and wept bitterly. 

When the high priest's officer, upon no reason- 
able occasion, did injuriously and ignominiously 
strike him 1 , he returned only this mild expos- 
Johnxviii. tulation : If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the 
evil; if well, why smitest thou me? that is, I advise 
thee to proceed in a fair and legal way against me, 
not to deal thus boisterously and wrongfully, to 
thy own harm. 

1 Cypr. Ep. lxv. [Item sub ictu passionis cum alapam acce- 
pisset, et ei dicoretur, Sic respondes pontifici, nihil ille contumeliose 
locutus est in porsonam poutificis, sed magis innocentiam suam 
tuitus est dicens: Si male, &c. — Opp. p. 113.] 

Of Patience. 149 

Even careful and tender he was of those who ^^-^ 

were the instruments of his suffering; he protected 

them from harm who conducted him to execution; 
as we see in the case of the high priest's servant, ^j^™- 
whom (with more zeal than wherewith he ever re- 
garded his own safety) he defended from the fury 
of his own friend, and cured of the wounds received 
in the way of persecuting himself. 

All his demeanour under that great trial was 
perfectly calm, not the least regret or reluctancy of 
mind, the least contradiction or obloquy of speech 
appearing therein ; such it was as became, The John i. 29. 
Lamb of God, who was to take away the sins of the 
world, by a willing oblation of himself; such as did 
exactly correspond to the ancient prophecies : He isai. im. 7; 
was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened 
not his mouth: he was brought as a lamb to the 
slaughter, and as a sheep before the shearer is dumb, i- 6. 
so he opened not his mouth; and, I gave my bach to 
the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the 
hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. 

Neither did the wrongful slanders devised and 
alleged against him by suborned witnesses, nor the 
virulent invectives of the priests, nor the barbarous 
clamours of the people, nor the contemptuous spit- 
ting upon him and buffeting him, nor the cruel 
scourgings, nor the contumelious mockeries, nor all 
the bloody tortures inflicted upon him, wring from 
him one syllable importing any dissatisfaction in 
his case, any wrath conceived for his misusages, any 
grudge or ill-will in his mind toward his persecu- 
tors; but, on the contrary, instead of hatred and 
revenge, he declared the greatest kindness and 
charity toward them, praying heartily to God his 

150 Of Patience. 

seem Father for the pardon of their sins. Instead of 

aggravating their crime and injury against him, 

he did in a sort extenuate and excuse it by conside- 
Luke xxiii. ra tion of their ignorance and mistake : Lord, said 

34- . 

he, in the height of his sufferings, forgive them; for 
they know not what they do. The life they so vio- 
lently bereaved him of, he did willingly mean to 
lay down for the ransom of their lives ; the blood 
they spilt, he wished to be a salutary balsam for 
their wounds and maladies ; he most cheerfully did 
offer himself by their hands a sacrifice for their 
offences. No small part of his afflictions was a 
sense of their so grievously displeasing God, and 
pulling mischief on their own heads, a foresight of 
his kind intentions being frustrated by their obsti- 
nate incredulity and impenitence, a reflection upon 
that inevitable vengeance, which from the Divine 
justice would attend them; this foreseen did work 
in .him a distasteful sense, (more grievous than 
what his own pain could produce,) and drew from 
him tears of compassion, (such as no resentment of 
Luke xm. his own case could extort ;) for, When he was come 
34.' X1U ' near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, O 
that thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this 
thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace. 

If ever he did express any commotion of mind 
in reference to this matter, it was only then when 
one of his friends, out of a blind fondness of affec- 
tion, did presume to dissuade him from undergoing 
these evils; then indeed, being somewhat moved 
Matt. xvi. with indignation, he said to St Peter, Get thee be- 
hind me, Satan, for thou art an offence unto me : 
for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but 
those that be of men. 

Of Patience. 151 

Neither was it out of a stupid insensibility or seem. 


stubborn resolution, that he did thus behave him ' 

self; for he had a most vigorous sense of all those Matt.xxvi. 
grievances, and a strong (natural) aversation from Luke xxii. 
undergoing them ; as those dolorous agonies where- jthn xii. 
with he struggled, those deadly groans he uttered, Matt.xxvi 
those monstrous lumps of blood he sweat out, those 39- 

r ' Heb. v. 7. 

earnest prayers he made to be freed from them, 
declare ; but from a perfect submission to the 
Divine will, and entire command over his passions, 
an excessive charity toward mankind, this patient 
and meek behaviour did spring : The cup which my John xvi;i - 
Father hath given me, shall I not drink it f my Matt.xxvi. 
Father, if it he possible, let this cup pass from me ; Luke xxii. 
nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt ; let not 42 ' 
my will, but thine be done. No man taketh away Jpimx. 18; 
my life, but I lay it down of my own accord : I will 
give my flesh for the life of the world. So doth our 
Lord himself express the true grounds of his pas- 
sion and his patience. 

Such is the example of our Lord : the serious 
consideration whereof how can it otherwise than 
work patience and meekness in us ? If he, that was 
the Lord of glory, (infinitely excellent in dignity 
and virtue,) did so readily embrace, did so con- 
tentedly endure such extremities of penury, hard- 
ship, disgrace, and pain, how can we refuse them, 
or repine at them ? Can we pretend to a better 
lot than he received, or presume that God must 
deal better with us than he did with his own dearest 
Son ? Can we be displeased at a conformity to our 
Lord and Master ? Can we, without shame, affect 
to live more splendidly, or to fare more deliciously 
than he chose to do ? Shall we fret or wail, because 

152 Of Patience. 

serm. our desires are crossed, our projects defeated, our 

XXXVIII. > 1 j > 

interests anywise prejudiced ; whenas his most 
earnest desires and his most painful endeavours 
had so little of due and desired success ; when he 
was ever ready, and had so constant occasion to 
say, Let not my will he done ? Can we despise that 
state of meanness and sorrow which he, from the 
highest sublimities of glory and beatitude, was 
pleased to stoop unto ? Can we take ourselves for 
the want of any present conveniences or comforts 
to be wretched, whenas the fountain of all happi- 
ness was destitute of all such things, and scarce did 
Luke xiv. ever taste any worldly pleasure ? Are we fit or 

27 • ix. 23. . ... 

Matt! x. ' worthy to be his disciples, if we will not take up 
3 , xvi. 24. j^ s cross an( j follow him ; if we will not go to his 

school, (that school wherein he is said himself to 
Heb. v. 8; have learnt obedience,) if we will not con that lesson 
which he so loudly hath read out, and transcribe 
that copy which he so fairly hath set before us ? 
Can we pretend to those great benefits, those high 
privileges, those rich and excellent rewards, which 
n. 9, 10. he hath attained for us, and which he proposeth to 
' "' 9 ' us, if we will not go on toward them in that way 
of patience which he hath trod before us ? 
Heb.xii. 3. Can we also, if we consider him that endureth 
such contradiction of sinners, be transported with 
any wrathful or revengeful passion, upon any pro- 
vocation from our brethren 1 '? Can we hope or wish 
for better usage from men than our Lord did 
ever find ? Can we be much displeased with any 
man for thwarting our desires or interests, for dis- 
senting from our conceits, for crossing our humours, 

k Quam gravis causa sit hominis Christiani servum pati nolle, 
cum prior passus sit Dominus, &c. — Cypr. Ep. lvi. [Opp. p. 92.J 

Of Patience. 153 

whenas he, to whom all respect and observance was x ™^j 

due, did meet with so little regard or compliance 

in any way ; continually did encounter repulses, 
disappointments, oppositions from the perverse and 
spiteful world % Can we be very jealous of our credit, 
or furious when our imaginary honour (honour that 
we never really deserved or can justly claim, being 
guilty of so many great faults and sins) is touched 
with the least disgraceful reflection, if we do well 
observe and mind, that the most truly, and indeed 
only honourable personage (only honourable, be- 
cause only innocent person) that ever was, had his 
reputation aspersed by the most odious reproaches 
which deepest envy and malice could devise, with- 
out any grievous resentment, or being solicitous 
otherwise to assert or clear it than by a constant 
silence ? Can we be exasperated by every petty 
affront, (real or supposed,) when the most noble, 
most courteous, most obliging person that ever 
breathed upon earth was treacherously exposed to 
violence by his own servant, shamefully deserted by 
his own most beloved friends, despitefully treated 
by those whom he never had offended, by those 
upon whom he had heaped the greatest benefits, 
without expressing any anger or displeasure against 
them, but yielding many signal testimonies of 
tenderest pity and love toward them ? Can we 
see our Lord treated like a slave and a thief, with- 
out any disturbance or commotion of heart ; and 
we vile wretches, upon every slight occasion, swell 
with fierce disdain, pour forth reproachful language, 
execute horrible mischief upon our brethren ? He, 
indeed, was surrounded with injuries and affronts ; 
every sin, that since the foundation of things hath 

154 Of Patience. 

serm. been committed, was an offence against him, and a 

XXXVIII. . . . .... 

— '- ' burden upon him ; (God laid upon him the iniquities 

Isai. liii. 6. » 7T . i i i 

oj us all;) so many declared enemies, so many- 
rebels, so many persecutors, so many murderers he 
had, as there have lived men in the world; for every 
sinner did in truth conspire to his affliction and 
destruction ; we all, in effect, did betray him, did 
accuse him, did mock, did scourge, did pierce, and 
crucify him; yet he forgave all offences, he died 

Rom. v. 6, for all persons ; While we were yet enemies, yet 
sinners, he died for us, to rescue us from death and 
misery : and shall we not then, in imitation of him, 
for his dear sake, in gratitude, respect, and obedience 
to him, be ready to bear the infirmities of our 
brethren, to forgive any small wrongs or offences 
from them 1 ; whatever they do to us, to love them, 
and do them what good we can ? If so admirable 
a pattern of patience and meekness so immense 
cannot, what is there that can oblige or move us ? 
I conclude with those doxologies to our so patient 
and meek Redeemer : 

Rev. v. i2, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive 

15 ' power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and 

honour, and glory, and blessing. Blessing, and 
honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that 
sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever 
and ever. 

i. 5, 6. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our 

sins in his blood, and hath made us kings and priests 
unto God and his Father ; to him be glory and do- 
minion for ever and ever. Amen. 

1 Rependamus illi paticntiam, quara pro nobis ipso dcpendit. — 
Tort, do Pat. cap. xvi. [Opp. p. 149 B.] 



i Thess. V i 6. 
Rejoice evermore. 

TyEJOICE evermore! O good Apostle, how ac- seem. 
-*- ^ ceptable rules dost thou prescribe ! O blessed XXXI ' 
God, how gracious laws dost thou impose! This 
is a rule, to which one would think all men should 
be forward to conform ; this is a law, which it may- 
seem strange, that any man should find in his heart 
to disobey : for what can any soul desire more than 
to be always on the merry pin, or to lead a life in 
continual alacrity? Who readily would not embrace 
a duty, the observance whereof is not only pleasant, 
but pleasure itself? Who is so wild as to affect 
a sin, which hath nothing in it but disease and 
disgust ? 

That joy should be enjoined, that sadness should 
be prohibited, may it not be a plausible exception 
against such a precept, that it is superfluous and 
needless, seeing all the endeavours of men do aim 
at nothing else but to procure joy and eschew 
sorrow ; seeing all men do conspire in opinion 
with Solomon, that, A man hath nothing better Eccies.vm. 
under the sun than — to be merry. Were it not It 'il\ It \ 
rather expedient to recommend sober sadness, or v ' l8, 2<5 " 
to repress the inclinations of men to effuse mirth 
and jollity ? 

I 4 . 

156 Rejoice evermore. 

xxxix ^° ^ ma y seem » but J e ^> a l as ' ^ we cons ult 

experience, or observe the world, we shall find this 

precept very ill obeyed : for do we not commonly 
see people in heavy dumps? do we not often hear 
doleful complaints? is not this world apparently 
a stage of continual trouble and grief? Did not the 
Preacher, upon a diligent survey of all the works 
EccieB. i. done under the sun, truly proclaim, Behold, all is 
vanity and vexation of spirit ? Where, I pray, is 
any full or firm content ? where is solid and durable 
joy to be found ? 

It is true that men, after a confused manner, 
are very eager in the quest, and earnest in the 
pursuit of joy ; they rove through all the forest 
of creatures, and beat every bush of nature for it, 
hoping to catch it either in natural endowments 
and improvements of soul, or in the gifts of fortune, 
or in the acquists of industry; in temporal posses- 
sions, in sensual enjoyments, in ludicrous divertise- 
ments and amusements of fancy; in gratification of 
their appetites and passions; they all hunt for it, 
though following a different scent, and running in 
various tracks ; some in way of plodding for rare 
notions ; some in compassing ambitious j:>rojects ; 
some in amassing heaps of wealth ; some in practice 
of over-reaching subtleties ; some in wrecking their 
malice, their revenge, their envy ; some in venting 
frothy conceits, bitter scoffs, or profane railleries ; 
some in jovial conversation and quaffing the full 
bowls ; some in music and dancing ; some in gal- 
lantry and courting ; some in all kinds of riotous 
excess and wanton dissoluteness; so each in his way 
doth incessantly prog for joy; but all much in vain, 
or without any considerable success ; finding at 

Rejoice evermore. 157 

most, instead of it, some faint shadows, or transitory ^xxix 

flashes of pleasure, the which, depending on causes 

very contingent and mutable, residing in a frail 
temper of fluid humours of body, consisting in slight 
touches upon the organs of sense, in frisks of the 
corporeal spirits, or in fumes and vapours twitching 
the imagination, do soon flag and expire ; their 
short enjoyment being also tempered with regret, 
being easily dashed by any cross accident, soon 
declining into a nauseous satiety, and in the end 
degenerating into gall and bitter remorse a ; for, 
Even, as Solomon observed, in laughter the heart Prov - xiv - 
is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness: 
and, Though, as it is said in Job, wickedness is xx. 12, i 4 , 
sweet in the mouth — yet his meat in his bowels is 
turned, it is the gall of asps within him: so that, 
indeed, the usual delights which men affect are 
such, that we should not if we could, and we 
could not if we would, constantly entertain them b ; 
such rejoicing evermore being equally unreasonable 
and impossible. 

Wherefore there is ground more than enough, 
that we should be put to seek for a true, sub- 
stantial, and consistent joy; it being withal implied, 
that we should effect it in another way, or look 
for it in another box, than commonly men do; 
who therefore are so generally disappointed, be- 
cause they would have it upon impossible or undue 
terms, and least expect it there, where it is only to 
be had. 

a Sunt qusedam tristes voluptates. — Sen. Ep. lxvii. [12.] 
Nam quoquoversum so verterit anima hominis, ad dolores 
figitur, alibi prseterquam in te. — Aug. Conf. iv. 10. [Opp. Tom. 
i. col. 102 d.] 

158 Rejoice evermore. 

xxxix Jt * s a scan dalous misprision, vulgarly admitted, 
~ ' ~ concerning Religion, that it is altogether sullen and 
sour, requiring a dull, lumpish, morose kind of life, 
barring all delight, all mirth, all good humour; 
whereas, on the contrary, it alone is the never- 
failing source of true, pure, steady joy; such as 
is deeply rooted in the heart, immoveably founded 
in the reason of things, permanent like the im- 
mortal spirit wherein it dwelleth, and like the 
eternal objects whereon it is fixed; which is not apt 
to fade or cloy; and is not subject to any impres- 
sions apt to corrupt or impair it : whereas, in our 
text, and in many texts parallel to it, we see, that 
our Religion doth not only allow us, but even doth 
oblige us to be joyful, as much and often as can 
be, not permitting us to be sad for one minute, 
banishing the least fit of melancholy, charging us 
in all times, upon all occasions, to be cheerful; 
supposing, consequently, that it is in some manner 
possible to be so, and affording power to effect what 
it doth require. 

Such indeed is the transcendent goodness of our 
God, that he maketh our delight to be our duty, 
and our sorrow to be our sin, adapting his holy 
will to our principal instinct; that he would have 
us to resemble himself, as in all other perfections, 
so in a constant state of happiness ; that, as he 
hath provided a glorious heaven of bliss for us here- 
after, so he would have us enjoy a comfortable 
paradise of delight here. He accordingly hath 
ordered the whole frame of our Religion in a ten- 
dency to produce joy in those who embrace it; for 
what is the Gospel, but, as the holy Angel, the first promulger of it, did report, Good tidings of great 

Rejoice evermore. 159 

joy to all people ? How doth God represent him- serm. 

self therein, but as the God of love, of hope, of- 1 

peace, of all consolation, cheerfully smiling in favour ^"J^s" 
on us, graciously" inviting us to the most pleasant ^ 0T U \ 4- 
enjoyments, bountifully dispensing most comfort- xiii - "• 
able blessings of mercy, of grace, of salvation to us? James v. 
For what doth our Lord call us to him, but that he Matt. xi. 
may give us rest and refreshment to our souls ; that 28 ' 
he may wipe away all tears from our eyes ; that he Rev. vu. 
may save us from most woful despair, and settle us Tit! ^\t 
in a blessed hope ; that we may enter into our Mas- ^ att " xxv< 
ter's joy; that our joy may be full, and such as no John ? v - 
man can take from us ? n; 

"What is the great overture of the Gospel, but 
the gift of a most blessed Comforter, to abide with xiv - l6 - 
us for ever, cheering our hearts with his lightsome 
presence and ravishing consolations ? Wherein 
doth the kingdom of heaven consist ? Not in meat Rom - «v. 
and drink, but in righteousness, and peace, and joy 
in the Holy Ghost. What are the prime fruits 
sprouting from that root of Christian life, the Divine 
Spirit ? they are, as St Paul telleth us, Love, joy, Gai. v. „. 
and peace. Are there not numberless declarations 
importing a joyful satisfaction granted to the ob- 
servers of God's commandments; that, Light is Pa. «vii. 
soivn for the righteous, and gladness for the upright lllm. , 5 ; 
in heart f Doth not our Lord pronounce a special ™^|; ".' 
beatitude to the practiser of every virtue ? And if 
we scan all the doctrines, all the institutions, all the 
precepts, all the promises of Christianity, will not 
each appear pregnant with matter of joy, will not 
each yield great reason and strong obligation to 
this duty of Rejoicing evermore f 

Wherefore a Christian, as such, (according to 

160 Rejoice evermore. 

serm. the design of his Religion, and in proportion to his 
' ^ ' ' compliance with its dictates,) is the most jocund, 
blithe, and gay person in the world ; always in 
humour and full of cheer ; continually bearing a 
mind well satisfied, a light heart and calm spirit, a 
smooth brow and serene countenance, a grateful 
accent of speech, and a sweetly composed tenor of 
carriage ; no black thought, no irksome desire, no 
troublesome passion should lodge in his breast ; 
any furrow, any frown, any cloud doth sit ill upon 
his face; the least fretful word or froward beha- 
viour doth utterly misbecome him ; if at any time 
it appear otherwise, it is a deflection from his cha- 
racter ; it is a blemish and wrong to his profession ; 
it argueth a prevarication in his judgment or in his 
practice ; he forgetteth that he is a Christian, or 
hath not preserved the innocence belonging to that 
name. For, if a Christian remembereth what he 
is, or is sensible of his condition ; if he reflecteth on 
the dignity of his person, the nobleness of his rela- 
tions, the sublimity of his privileges, the greatness 
and certainty of his hopes, how can he be out of 
humour ? Is it not absurd for him that is at peace 
with Heaven, with his own conscience, with all the 
world ; for the possessor of the best goods, and the 
heir of a blessed immortality; for the friend, the 
favourite, the son of God, to fret or wail ? 

He that is settled in a most prosperous state, 
that is (if he pleaseth) secure of its continuance, 
that is well assured of its improvement; that hath 
whatever good he can wish in his reach, and more 
than he can conceive in sure reversion; what ac- 
count can be given, that he should be sad, or seem 
afflicted ? 

Rejoice evermore. 161 

He that hath the inexhaustible spring of good serm. 

for his portion ; that hath his welfare entrusted in 1 

God's most faithful hand ; that hath God's infallible 
word for his support ; that hath free access to him, 
In whose presence is fulness of joy, that hath fre- Ps.xvi. n. 
quent tastes of God's goodness, in gracious dispen- 
sations of providence, in intercourses of devotion, 
in the influences of grace; that hath the infinite 
beauty and excellency for the perpetual object of 
his contemplation and affection; that enjoy eth the 
serenity of a sound mind, of a pure heart, of a quiet 
conscience, of a sure hope, what can he want to 
refresh or comfort him? 

If a true and perfect Christian hath no care to 
distract him, having discharged all his concerns on 
God's providence; if he hath no fear to dismay him, 
being guarded by the Almighty protection from all 
danger and mischief ; if he hath no despair to sink 
him, having a sure refuge in the divine mercy and 
help ; if he hath no superstitious terrors or scruples 
to perplex him, being conscious of his own upright 
intentions to please God, and confident of God's 
merciful willingness to accept his sincere endea- 
vours; if he hath no incurable remorse to torment 
him, the stings of guilt being pulled out by the 
merits of his Saviour, applied by his faith and 
repentance; if he hath no longing desires to dis- 
quiet him, being fully satisfied with that he doth 
possess, or may expect from God's bounty, all other 
things being far beneath his ambition or coveting; 
if he hath no contentions to inflame him, knowing 
nought here worth passionately striving for, and 
being resolved to hold a friendly good- will toward 
all men; if he hath no repining envy, seeing that 
b. s. VOL. III. 11 

162 Rejoice evermore. 

serm. none can be more happy than he may be, and that 

— 1 ' every man's good by charity is made his own; 

if he hath no fretful discontent, since he gladly 
doth acquiesce in the condition and success allotted 
to him, resigning his will to God's pleasure, taking 
all for best which thence doth occur, being assured 

Rom. viii. that all things shall work together for his good and 
advantage ; if he hath no spiteful rancours to corrode 
his heart, no boisterous passions to ruffle his mind, 
no inordinate appetites, perverse humours, or cor- 
rupt designs to distemper his soul and disturb his 
life, whence then may sorrow come, or how can 
sadness creep into him ? 

What is there belonging to a Christian, whence 

Ps. xiiii. 4; grief naturally can spring ? From God, our exceed- 
ing joy, the fountain of happiness; from heaven, the 
region of light and bliss ; from divine truth, which 
illustrateth and cheereth the soul ; from God's law, 

xix. 8, 10; which rejoiceth the heart, and is sweeter than honey 

Cxi x jnii 

Prov. iH. and the honeycomb; from .wisdom, Whose ivays are 
ways of pleasantness, and all whose paths are peace; 
from virtue, which cureth our afflictive distempers, 
and composeth our vexatious passions; from these 
things, I say, about which a Christian as such is only 
conversant, no sorrow can be derived; from those 
sweet sources no bitter streams can flow : but hell, 
the flesh, the world, darkness, error, folly, sin, and 
irreligion, (things with which a Christian should 
have nothing to do, from which he should keep 
aloof, which he doth pretend utterly to renounce 
and abandon,) these, these alone, are the parents 
of discomfort and anguish. 



'E7ri6vplas ovv cnrekaBtia-qs cvStos >J ^v^i), kcu yaKrjvLiScra yivfrai. 
— Just. Mart, ad Grecc. Orat. cap. v. [Opp. p. 5 B.J 

Rejoice evermore. 163 

Wherefore there is the same reason, the same serm. 

•i« -i tit XXXIX. 

obligation, the same possibility, that we should 

rejoice evermore*, as that we should always be 
Christians, exactly performing duty, and totally 

* We must, I say, rejoice always, although not with all 
sorts of joy ; for there are joys improper for us, and unworthy 
of us; which, therefore, are not allowed to us; which, indeed, 
are inconsistent with that true, and that continual joy, which 
our text prescribeth : there are vain and childish, there are 
sordid and brutish, there are wicked and satanic joys, There is Eccles. vii. 
a laughter of fools, like to the crackling of thorns ; and a wild ' 
impertinent mirth, on which the Royal preacher did reflect, /ii. 2. 
said of laughter, It is mad; and of mirth, What doth it? there 
is a joy attending on folly itself, for Folly, saith he, is joy to Prov - xv - 
him that is destitute of wisdom ; that is, nothing is so wretch- 
edly mean, or pitifully silly, in which vain men will not please 
themselves ; as we see children find great delight in any 
worthless trifles, in the images of business, in little conten- 
tions and petty victories : very like to which are most of the 
pleasures, which the sons of men do affect and pursue. 

There are also those of a worse temper, who (as the same 
wise observer telleth us) Bejoice to do evil, and delight in the ii- '4- 
frowardness of the wicked ; there is a joy of the envious in g/ 
seeing calamities, and of the malicious in doing mischief : a Prov - XV11- 
joy of the revengeful in wreaking his spite, and beholding his xxiv. 17. 
enemy to fall ; a joy of the unjust dealer in fraudulent over- ° xxx1 ' 
reaching those who trade with him ; of the sycophant in 
undermining his neighbour by slander or detraction ; of the 
flatterer in abusing the simplicity of his friend, or patron, by 
feigned commendations. 

There is a joy of the luxurious epicure in his riotous 
excesses, of the wanton in his lewd embraces, of the ambitious 
in driving on his unwieldy projects, and reflecting on his 
success, his power and pomp, the acclamations and respects j^cles^v. 
offered to him; of the covetous in viewing his crammed bags, 2. 
his full barns, his large hoards, and thereon blessing his soul. ag . 


164 Rejoice evermore. 

serm. forbearing sin; for innocence and indolency do 

ever go together, both together making paradise ; 

perfect virtue and constant alacrity are inseparable 
companions, both constituting beatitude: and as, 

There is a joy of the vain wit in his frothy conceits, of 
the dissolute ruffian in his mad frolics, of the atheistical 
scoffer in his profane raillery. 

Every vice hath a charm of joy alluring to it, and 
detaining in it, otherwise no man would be captivated by a 
thing so ugly, so noisome, so disgraceful, and so incommo- 
dious to him. 

These are spurious and fallacious joys ; in their nature 
fond or foul and base, in their degree lame and imperfect, 
in their consistence flashy and brittle, in their duration flitting 

Joel i. 12. an d fading, in their result bitter and loathsome; their enjoy- 
ment is tempered with regret of heart, it is easily dashed by 
any cross accident, it soon warpeth into a nauseous satiety ; 
they in the end degenerate into gall, and grievous anguish ; 
for as it is said in Job concerning every sinful voluptuary, 

Job xx. Though wickedness is sweet in his mouth, yet his meat in his 
bowels is turned; it is the gall of asps within him ; and as 

Prov. xiv. Solomon observeth of such joy, Even in laughter the heart is 
sorrowful, and the end of that mirth is heaviness. 

They are like the body in which they reside, and whereon 
they depend, very loose, fluid, and frail ; consisting in slight 
touches upon the organs of sense, in frisks of the corporeal 
spirits, in luscious steams infecting the imagination ; the 
causes, the objects, the occasions of them are very contingent 
and mutable; whence they presently flag, evaporate, and 

Wherefore we should not, if we could, and we could not, 
if we would, constantly entertain such joys; to do so is 
equally unreasonable and impossible. 

But the joy recommended to us is quite of another nature 

John xvi. and stamp ; it is a worthy and pure, a full and complete, a 
grave, sober, and masculine, a solid, substantial, firm, and 


Rejoice evermore. 165 

although from our infirmity we cannot attain the |xxix. 

highest pitch of virtue, yet we must aspire thereto, 

endeavouring to perfect holiness in the fear of God; ^/™-g- 
so, though it may not be possible to get, yet it is i John in. 
reasonable to seek perpetual joy; which doing in 
the right way, we shall not fail of procuring a good 
measure of it. 

Indeed, to exercise piety and to rejoice are the 
same things, or things so interwoven, that nothing 
can disjoin them; religious practice is like that 
River, the streams whereof make glad the city of Vs. xivi. 4. 
God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most 
High, that is, every pious soul. No good deed can 
be performed without satisfaction; each virtue hath 
a peculiar delight annexed to it : whence the acts 
of joy, which upon various objects, grounds, and 
occasions, we may exert, being numberless, I shall 
only touch a few principal instances. 

I. We should evermore rejoice in the exercise 
of our faith ; according to that prayer of our Apostle 

steady joy; deeply rooted in the heart, immoveably founded 
in the reason of things ; permanent, like the immortal spirit 
wherein it dwelleth, and like the eternal objects on which it 
is fixed ; which is safe from all attacks and impressions from 
without, (A stranger intermeddling not with it) which never Prov. xiv. 
fainteth or cloyeth ; but is by lasting increased and strength- IO- 
ened ; of which we can never repent, or be anywise bereaved, 
according to that of our Lord, Your heart shall rejoice, and John xvi. 
your joy no man talceth from you. 22 ' 

We therefore may well rejoice evermore with such a joy, 
or rather with such joys, for there are many of them (to 
be exerted upon various grounds, objects, and occasions), 
some of which I shall touch, declaring how we may and 
should have them. MS. 

166 Rejoice evermore. 

serm. for the Romans, Now the God of hope fill you with 

all joy and peace in believing. 

Eom. xv. Every kind of faith (that which embraceth di- 

vine truths, that which applieth God's mercy, that 
which ensureth God's promises, that which confideth 
in God's providence, each of them) is a clear spring 

johnvi. of joy, ever standing open to us; which he that 

vfi.' 3 8 ; drinketh shall never thirst. 

1V ' I4 ' 1 The faith which embraceth God's heavenly 

truth doth not only enlighten our minds, but is 
apt to affect our hearts; there being no article of 
faith, or mystery of our Religion, which doth not 
involve some great advantage, some notable favour, 
some happy occurrence dispensed to us by the 
goodness of God, the which faith doth apprehend 
and convey to our spiritual gust, so that we cannot 

Matt. xiii. hardly but receive the word with joy. For is it 

PMi. i. 25. not very sweet with faith to contemplate the rich 
bounty of God in the creation of the world, and 
producing so goodly a frame, so copious a store of 
things, with a special regard to our sustenance and 
accommodation ? Is it not satisfactory to believe 
that God, by his almighty hand and vigilant care, 
with the same benign regard, doth uphold and 
govern the same ? Is it not extremely pleasant 
with faith to reflect on that great honour and 
happiness, which God did vouchsafe to confer on 
mankind, by sending down from heaven his only 
Son to assume our nature, and to converse with 

2 Pet. i. 4. men, that we might be advanced to a participation 

1 Joimi. 3. of the divine nature, and to an enjoyment of com- 
munion with God ? How, without great delight, 
can we be persuaded, that our Saviour, by his meri- 
torious obedience and passion, hath appeased God's 

Rejoice evermore. 167 

wrath, and inclined his favour toward us, hath serm. 

satisfied justice, hath expiated our offences, hath *. 

ransomed and rescued our souls from the dominion 
of sin and Satan, from death and corruption, from 
hell and everlasting torment, hath purchased im- 
mortal life and endless bliss for us ? What comfort 
is there in being assured 3 , by the resurrection and 
triumph of our Lord over death, that our souls are 
indeed immortal, that our bodies shall be raised 
from the dust, that our persons are capable of an 
eternal subsistence in happiness ? Will it not much 
please us with an eye of faith to behold our Re- 
deemer sitting in glorious exaltation at God's right 
hand, governing the world for the benefit of his 
church, dispensing benediction and grace to us ; 
interceding, as our merciful and faithful High Heb.ii. 17. 
Priest, for the pardon of our sins, the acceptance of 
our prayers, the supply of our needs, and the relief 
of our distresses ? If we be fully convinced, that 
our Lord Jesus is the Christ, our Lord and Saviour, 
Tlie author of eternal salvation to all that obey him, Heb. v. 9. 
how can we otherwise than follow those, of whom 
St Peter saith, Whom having not seen ye love; in 1 Pet. i. 8. 
whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing ye 
rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory ? So 
from the hearty belief of every evangelical truth we 
may suck consolation ; each of them is food of our 
soul ; and to believe it is to eat it e : which how can 
we do without a delicious or most savoury relish ? 

2 At least, methinks, that faith greatly should 
exhilarate us, which applieth those verities, (so 

EifioTcy. — 2 Cor. iv. 14. 

Credo et manducasti. — Aug. [In Johan. Evang. c. vi. Tract, 
xxv. § 12. Ed. Par. 1679—1700. Tom. iii. Pt, ii. col. 489.] 

168 Rejoice evermore. 

serm. worthy of all acceptation,) wherein God doth open 

" his arms wide to embrace us, proposing most kind 

i Tun. i. mv ^ations and favourable overtures of mercy, 
upon the fairest terms possible; together with 
effectual remedies for all the maladies and miseries 
of our souls : for if we are sensible of our heinous 
guilts, if we are laden with the heavy burden of 
our sins, if our heart is galled with sore compunc- 
tion for our misdeeds, if we are struck with the 
i Cor. v. terrors of the Lord, and tremble with the fear of 
Ps.xxxviii. God's judgments; how comfortable must it be to 
cil. 4; ' be persuaded, that God is fully reconcileable to us, 
cxix!' i 4 2o. i g verv desirous to shew us mercy, and gladly will 
i John ii. accept our repentance ; that, We have an advocate 
with the Father, who hath 'propitiated for our sins, 
doth mediate for our peace, hath both full power 
and certain will, if we sincerely do renounce our 
Eom. vui. offences, wholly to remit them ! so that, There is 
therefore now no condemnation to them which are 
in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, hut 
v. i. after the spirit; and that, Being justified by faith, 
we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus 
Ps. ii. 8 ; Christ. Will not this belief revive us, and make 
the broken bones to rejoice ? will not the Gospel 
of peace be hence in truth a joyful sound to us? 
might it not hence well be proclaimed in the Pro- 
isai. xi. i, phet, Comfort ye, comfort ye my people; speak ye 
comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that 
her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is 

And if we find ourselves in habit of soul 
grievously distempered, labouring under great im- 
potency and blindness, overborne and oppressed 
with the prevalency of corruption, pestered with 

Rejoice evermore. 169 

unreasonable desires and passions, unable to curb JfBg| 

our inclinations and appetites, to resist temptations, 

to discharge our duty in any tolerable measure, or 
with any ease ; is it not then comfortable to believe, 
that we have a most faithful and skilful physician 
at hand to cure our distempers; that we have a 
powerful succour within ken to relieve our infir- 
mities; that God is ready to impart an abundant 
supply of grace, of light, of spiritual strength to 
direct and assist us ; that, If any man doth lack James *• 
wisdom, he is encouraged with faith to ask it of 
God, who giveth liberally, and upbraideth not ? If 
any man want strength, God's Almighty Spirit is Luke xi. 
promised to those who with humble earnestness do 
implore it ; so that, We may be able to do all things Phil - iv - 
(incumbent on us) by Christ who strengthened us. Rom. vii. 

3 And what more hearty satisfaction can we 2 Cor.iii.5. 
feel, than in a firm persuasion concerning the real ''"' I3 ' 
accomplishment of those Exceedingly great and 2 Pet - *■ 4- 
precious promises, whereby we become capable of 
the most excellent privileges, the most ample bene- 
fits, the most happy rewards that can be ? How 
can the belief, that, by God's infallible word, or as 
surely as truth itself is true, an eternal inheritance 
of a treasure that cannot fail, of a glory that can- 
not fade, of a kingdom that cannot be shaken, of 
a felicity surpassing all expression and all conceit, 
is reserved for us, in recompense of our faithful 
obedience ; how, I say, can that be a dead, dull, dry 
belief, void of sprightly comfort and pleasure ? 

Likewise, the faith of confidence in God's good 
providence and paternal care over us, (whatever 
our condition or circumstances be,) should infuse a 
cheerful refreshment of heart into us. 

170 Rejoice evermore. 

xxxt 1 ' ""■* * s * n ^°^ scr ip ture most frequently asserted, 

' that lie who placeth his trust in God is a very 

blessed and happy person; and can we, without 
great satisfaction, partake of that beatitude ? 

Can we, by such a trust, disburden all our 
solicitous cares, all our anxious fears, all the troubles 
of our spirit, and pressures of our condition upon 
God, with strong assurance, that from his mighty 
power and watchful care, in due time, in the most 
expedient manner, we shall receive a competent 
supply of our wants, a riddance from our grievances, 
a protection from all danger and harm, a blessing 
upon all our good endeavours and undertakings, 
without feeling much ease and peace in our hearts ? 
What can be more cheering than a persuasion, 
that all our concerns are lodged in the hands of 
such a Friend, so wise, so able, so faithful, so affec- 
tionate, so ever readily disposed to help us and 
Ps. xci. i ; further our good ? They who trust in God are 
4 ; 'ivii. i;' said to abide under the shadow of the Almighty, 
xIxVl'7; an< A to be covered with his wings; God is often 
briTo?' styled their rock, their fortress, their shield and 
buckler, their defence and refuge ; and are they not 
then impregnably safe ? why then should they fear 
any disaster? at what occurrence should they be 
disturbed ? Have they not huge reason to say with 
cxii. 2; the Psalmist, In the shadow of thy wings will I 
lxiii. 7; rejoice; The Lord is my strength and my shield, 
xxxlii! l'i; my heart trusteth in him, and I am helped; there- 
fore my heart dancethfor joy, and in my song will 
I praise him. May not each of those confiders 
in God well repress all insurrections of trouble 
xiii. 14; and grief with that holy charm, Why art thou so 
x "' s ' vexed, my soul, and why art thou so disquieted 

Rejoice evermore. 171 

within me? O trust in God... for he is the health of seem. 
my countenance, and my God. 

II. We should evermore rejoice in the practice 
of Christian hope, making good that aphorism of 
Solomon, The hope of the righteous shall be glad- Prov - x - 
ness; and obeying those apostolical injunctions, that, 
We should rejoice in hope; that, We should retain Eom - xii - 
the confidence and the rejoicing of hope firm to the Heb. m. 6. 
end. Those excellent and most beneficial truths, 
those sweet proposals of grace and mercy, those 
rich promises, which faith doth apprehend as true 
in a general reference to all Christians, hope doth 
appropriate and apply as particularly touching our- 
selves; improving the knowledge of our common 
capacity into a sense of our special interest in 
them. God, saith our faith, will assuredly receive 
all penitent sinners to mercy, will crown all pious 
Christians with glory, will faithfully perform what- 
ever he hath graciously promised to all people, hath 
a tender care for all that love and fear him; but 
God, saith our hope, will have mercy on me, will 
render to me the wages of righteousness, will verify ^ Tim. iv. 
his good word to me his servant, will protect, will i' Kings 
deliver, will bless me in all exigencies : if so, being vm ' 2 ' 
conscious of our sincere endeavour to serve and 
please God; if discerning, from a careful reflection 
upon our heart and ways, that, in some good mea- 
sure, with fidelity and diligence we have discharged 
the conditions required of us, we can entitle our- 
selves to God's special affection, we can accommodate 
his word to our case, we can assume a propriety in 
his regard, how can we forbear conceiving joy ? 

All hope, in proportion to the worth of its 
object, and the solidity of its ground, is comfortable, 

172 Rejoice evermore. 

serm. it being The anchor of the soul, which stayeth and 


supporteth it in undisturbed rest; it appeasing unquiet d es i res . it setting absent goods before us, 
and anticipating future enjoyments by a sweet fore- 
taste f : seeing then, if we have a good conscience, 
1 John in. an( j Q ur heart doth not condemn us, our hope is 
isai. xxvi. grounded on The Rock of ages, (on the immutable 
4 " nature and the infallible word of God ;) seeing it is 

the hope of the most worthy, the most sublime, the 
most incomparable and inestimable goods, it must 
be most extremely delightful. 

If it much pleaseth men to conceit themselves 
next heirs of a fair estate, to have the reversion of 
a good office, to be probable expectants of a great 
preferment, (although death may intercept, or other 
accidents may obstruct the accomplishment of such 
1 Pet. i. hopes,) how much more shall that Lively hope, of 
which St Peter speaketh, of an inheritance incor- 
ruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, 
reserved in heaven for us, who are kept by the power 
of God through faith unto salvation, (which hope 
therefore can never be dashed or defeated,) breed a 
most cheerful satisfaction, far transcending all other 
pleasures, which spring from the most desirable 
fruitions here ; according to that admonition of our 
Luke x. 20. Lord, Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the 
spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice that 
your names are written in heaven"' 

* III. We should evermore rejoice in a grateful resent- 
ment of God's goodness, expressed in conferring benefits upon 

"Ap.a Kai irpo rod irapacrrfivai vnoa^eaiv rfjs Tra\iyyeve<rias, avrrj 17 

\jrvxrj 777 iXnidi yavpovfihr) evcppalveTai. Const. Ap. VII. 33. [Cot. 

Pat. Apost. Tom. 1. p. 373.] 

Rejoice evermore. 173 

III. We should evermore reioice in the per- seem. 

forming the duty of charity; both that which we '- 

owe to God, and that which is due to our neigh- 

us. taste and see (saith the Psalmist) that the Lord is good : Ps. xxxiv. 
in the experience of divine beneficence we do taste and see ' 
God's goodness ; and how can we relish so very sweet a thing, 
how can we view so fair an object without pleasure ? Upon 
the favour of God all our good dependeth, it is the foundation 
of our welfare, it is the source of all our comfort ; in the 
fruition and sense of it the highest felicity consisteth, how 
then can we without joyful complacency reflect on any testi- 
mony thereof? 

The benefits of God (whether by nature, or by providence, 
or by grace, dispensed to us) are in themselves so consider- 
able, that they well may satisfy us ; but they should more 
abundantly please us, as they come from him, as expressions 
of his goodness, as arguments of his favourable regard to- 
wards us. For if the favour of a mortal creature having any 
slim participation of resemblance of Divine Majesty, when it 
discloseth itself in a smile, in a kind word, in an affable 
gesture, doth even yield a pleasing content, how much more 
should it ravish us to find, that the sovereign Lord of all 
things doth condescend to mind us, doth vouchsafe to concern 
himself for our good. How can we rightly understand the 
benefits of God, or worthily prize them, or heartily like them, 
or thankfully accept and embrace them, without joy? seeing 
joy is a natural result of our obtaining that, which we do 
apprehend good, which we do approve and esteem, which we 
affect and desire. 

For want of this a benefit is diminished, is spoiled, is 
nullified ; joy being that which maketh good to be good to 
us; rendering our state better, and in proportion more happy. 
Wherefore God would have us to rejoice in the perception 
of his benefits, and he no less loveth a cheerful receiver 
than a cheerful giver. 

174 Rejoice evermore. 

serm. Love is the sweetest and most delectable of all 

-- ~ ~ passions ; and when, by the conduct of wisdom, it 

is directed in a rational way toward a worthy, 

congruous, attainable object, it cannot otherwise 

than fill the heart with ravishing delight. 

And such (in all respects superlatively such) an 
object is God : he infinitely beyond all other things 
deserveth our affection, as most perfectly amiable 
and desirable, as having obliged us by innumerable 
and inestimable benefits, all the good that we have 
ever enjoyed, or that we can ever expect, being 
derived from his pure bounty; all things in the 
world, in competition with him, being pitifuUy 
mean, ugly, and loathsome; all things, without 
him, being vain, unprofitable, and hurtful to us; 
Ps. lxxxix. so that the Psalmist might well say, Who in heaven 
can be compared unto the Lord? who among the 

To be sad when God is kind, to lour and frown when he 
is pleased to smile upon us, is a very perverse crossness 
to his intent, an untoward abuse of his goodness, a plain 
argument of wretched stupidity, or vile ingratitude. For 
gratitude is a very pleasant duty, involving the exercise of 
our best affections ; of a reverent love to the benefactor, of 
a satisfactory complacence in his goodwill towards us, of 
entertaining the benefit with a just valuation and kind 

Whence it commonly breedeth an exultation of spirit, 

Ps. xiii. 6. and naturally dischargeth itself in songs of praise; I will sing 

unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me, 

is a text, whereon, in a manner, the whole Book of Psalms 

is the descant. 

So that, if we can observe that other precept of St Paul, 
Eph. v. ?o. enjoining us To give thanks always, we consequently shall 
perform this of Evermore rejoicing. MS. 

Rejoice evermore. 175 

sons of the mighty can be likened unto the Lord? seem. 
Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none 

Ps. lxxiii. 

upon earth that I can desire beside thee. He is the 2S ; 
most proper object of our love; for we chiefly were 
framed, and it is the prime law of our nature, to Matt. xxii. 
love him ; our soul from original instinct vergeth 
toward him as its centre, and can have no rest till 
it be fixed on him ; he alone can satisfy the vast 
capacity of our minds, and fill our boundless desires. 
He, of all lovely things, most certainly and 
easily may be attained; for, whereas commonly men 
are crossed in their affection, and their love is 
imbittered from their affecting things imaginary, 
which they cannot reach, or coy things, which dis- 
dain and reject their affection; it is concerning God 
quite otherwise : for, 

He is most ready to impart himself, and will John vi. 37. 
not reject any that cometh unto him; he most 2 c r. v . 4 ' 
earnestly desireth and wooeth our love ; he is not }°^ n xiv 
only most willing to correspond in affection, but ^' 2 ^j ao 
doth prevent us therein, for, We love him, saith 1 John iv. 
the apostle, because he first loved us. 

He doth cherish and encourage our love by 
sweetest influences and most comfortable embraces, 
by kindest expressions of favour, by most beneficial 
returns, ordering that All things shall work together Rom. via. 
for good to those who love him: and whereas all 1 cor. a. 
other objects do in the enjoyment much fail our 9 ' 
expectation, he doth ever far exceed it. 

Wherefore, in all affectionate motions of our 
hearts toward God, in desiring him, or seeking his 
favour and friendship ; in embracing him, or setting 
our esteem, our good- will, our confidence on him; 
in enjoying him by devotional meditations and 

176 Rejoice evermore. 

serm. addresses to him ; in a reflexive sense of our interest 


and propriety in him ; in that mysterious union of 

i Cor. vl g p— ^ h er eby we do closely adhere to him, and are, 
Deut X x.2o! as it were, inserted in him ; in a hearty complacence 
John xv. 4 , j n hig benignity, a grateful resentment of his kind- 
ness, and a zealous desire of yielding some requital 
for it, we cannot but feel very pleasant transports, 
assuring to us the truth of that saying in the Psalm, 
Ps. v. ii ; They that love thy name shall he joyful in thee; and 
xxxvi. 7 ; disposing us to cry out with the Psalmist, How 
ixiii. 3- excellent is thy lovingkindness, Lord! Because thy 
lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise 

Indeed that celestial flame (kindled in our 
hearts by the spirit of love) cannot be void of 
warmth; we cannot fix our eyes upon infinite 
beauty, we cannot taste infinite sweetness, we can- 
not cleave to infinite felicity, without we should 
also perpetually rejoice in the first daughter of 
love to God, charity toward men; the which in 
complexion and cheerful disposition doth most re- 
semble its mother : for it doth rid all those gloomy- 
keen, turbulent imaginations and passions, which 
cloud our mind, which fret our heart, which dis- 
compose the frame of our soul, (from burning an- 
ger, from storming contention, from gnawing envy, 
from rankling spite, from racking suspicion, from 
distracting ambition and avarice). It consequently 
doth settle our mind in an even temper, in a sedate 
humour, in an harmonious order, in that pleasant 
state of tranquillity, which naturally doth result 
from the voidance of irregular passions. 

And who can enumerate or express the pleasures 
which do await on every kind, on each act of charity ? 

Rejoice evermore. 177 

How triumphant a joy is there in anywise |||^ 

doing good! whereby we feel good humour, and 

gratify our best inclinations; whereby we oblige 
our brethren, and endear ourselves to them ; where- 
by we most resemble the divine goodness, and 
attract the divine favour. 

St Paul telleth us, that, God loveth a cheerful *Cov.ix. 7. 
giver; and he prescribeth, that, He who sheweth Rom. xii. 
mercy should do it kv WapSrtiTi, with merriness; 
and in the Law it is commanded, Thine heart shall Deut. xv. 
not grieve when thou givest to thy poor hrother: and 
who, indeed, can out of charity give alms or shew Eccius. 

XXXV. 10. 

mercy without cheerfulness? seeing that he thereby 
doth satisfy his own mind, and doth ease his own 
bowels; considering that, in doing good to his 
neighbour, he receiveth far more good to himself ; 
that he then doth put forth his stock to very great 
and most certain advantage; that he dischargeth 
an office very acceptable to God, doth much 
oblige him, and render him a debtor, doth engage 
him abundantly to requite and reward that bene- 

What satisfaction is there in forgiving offences ! 
whereby we discharge our souls from vexatious 
inmates, (black thoughts and rancorous animo- 
sities ;) whereby we clear ourselves from the 
troubles attending feuds and strifes ; whereby we 
imitate our most gracious Creator, and transcribe 
the pattern of our meek Redeemer; whereby we 
render ourselves capable of divine mercy, and ac- 
quire a good title to the pardon of our own sins; 
according to that divine word, If you forgive men Matt - xi - 
their trespasses, your heavenly Father will forgive xxv. 35. 

b. s. vol. iit. 12 


178 Rejoice evermore. 

serm. How unconfmedly and inexhaustibly vast is 

that delight, which a charitable complacence in the 

Rom. xii. good of our neighbour (a rejoicing with those that 
J W xiii. rejoice) may afford! a man thence engrossing all 
the good in the world, and appropriating to himself 
all the prosperous successes, all the pleasant enter- 
tainments, all the comfortable satisfactions of his 
Rom. xii. neighbour. Even a charitable sympathy, or con- 
dolency, in the adversities of our neighbour, is not 
destitute of content ; for the soul is thereby melted 
into a gentle temper, susceptive of the best impres- 
sions ; we share in the comfort which we minister 
2 Cor. i. 6 ; £ others ; we are refreshed in that kindly submis- 

vii. 7. d % 

sion to the good pleasure of God, in that lightsome 
contemplation of God's mercy, in those comfortable 
hopes of a happy issue, which we suggest to the 
afflicted g ; we thence are disposed to a grateful 
sense of God's goodness, in preserving ourselves 
from those calamities, and in qualifying us to com- 
fort our brethren ; we feel satisfaction in reflecting 
upon this very practice, and observing that we do 
act conformably to good-nature, to the dictates of 
reason, to the will of God, therein discharging a 
good conscience, and enjoying a portion of that 
Prov. xv. continual feast. 

I should, if the time would permit, further de- 
clare, how we should find delight in the contempla- 
tion of all God's attributes, of his works, of his 
word ; in thankful resentment of all God's benefits ; 
in willing obedience to all God's laws; how joy is a 
proper fruit growing on the practice of humility, 
of justice, of temperance, of devotion, of every 
virtue and grace : more particularly I should have 

s 2v/XTTapaK\r]6fjvai. — Rom. i. 12. 


Rejoice evermore. 179 

evidenced how, from a patient submission to God's |™*: 

afflicting hand, from penitential contrition of heart '- 

for our sins, from a pious fear and solicitude in 
working out our salvation, most sweet consolations 
(so tempering those ingredients, as to render their 
bitterness very savoury) may spring: but in re- 
commending joy I would not produce grief; and 
therefore shall not further annoy your patience. 

[A second Sermon on the same text, Rejoice evermore, was evi- 
dently contemplated, and partially written by Barrow. From 
the imperfect draught the following paragraphs, numbered as 
in the original MS., are now for the first time printed.] 

VI. We should ever rejoice in our devotional addresses 
to God, and intercourse with him. We are in Scripture 
frequently moved to incessant devotion, and in discharging 
that duty we may perpetually rejoice; devotion rightly 
performed (with a due sense of what we do, and a careful 
attention thereto) being of all things that we can do, the 
most pleasant, and productive of joy. 

The coming from a converse with creatures into the 
presence of God, is like the coming out of a chill place into 
the warm sun, very comfortable, and doth infuse cheer into 
our hearts; for, In thy presence is fulness of joy, at thy right Ps. xvi. n; 
hand there are pleasures for evermore. The light of God's 
countenance, which most shineth on men in their approaches 
to him, is ever joined with the warmth of gladness, Blessed 
(saith the Psalmist) is the people that know the joyful sound: lxxxix. 15, 
they shall walk, Lord, in the light of thy countenance ; In 1 ' 
thy name shall they rejoice all the day ; and, Lord, lift thou iv. 6; 
up the light of thy countenance upon us. Thou hast put 
gladness in my heart, and thou hast made him (the King) xxi. 6. 
exceeding glad with thy countenance. 


180 Rejoice evermore. 

SERM. The pouring out our hearts before God, the discharging 

XXXIX - our souls of its cares and burthens, of its troubles and 

sorrows, into the bosom of the most faithful, the most kind, 

the most tender-hearted friend, hath great consolation ; to 

the which therefore, all persons (especially those who are 

pious) naturally have recourse, according to that practice of 

Ps.cxlii.s; the Psalmist, I poured out my complaint before him, I shewed 

before him my trouble: when my spirit was overwhelmed 

ixii. 8; within me, then thou knewest my path. And according to 

that admonition, Trust in him at all times, ye people: pour 

out your hearts before him. God is a refuge for us. 

The fervency of desire, quickened with a hope of ob- 
taining what we need; the seeking a supply of our wants, 
a deliverance from our straits, an assistance in our proceed- 
ings, a good success of our endeavours, with a good assur- 
cv. 3 ; ance of finding it, doth afford much delight ; whence, Let 
Lxx. 4 ; xl. the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord; Let those that 
l6- seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee ; the prayer for it doth 

imply the due consequence of it. 

The offering of praises to God, for his superlative ex- 
cellencies, for the emanations of his transcendent goodness, 
for his glorious works of power and wisdom, (wherein our 
hearts are fixed on the fairest and sweetest objects that can 
be) how pleasant it is, seeing it doth constitute the beati- 
tude of heaven, and is the incessant work of angels, who 
Eev. iv. 8. without satiety or weariness, do Never rest day or night, 
saying, Holy, Holy, Holy., Lord God Almighty. How well, 
Ps. ix. i ; therefore, might the Psalmist say, I will be glad and rejoice 
in thee, I will sing praise unto thy name, thou Most High ; 
kiii- 5 ; My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and 
xxvii. 6 ; my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips ; I will offer in 
his tabernacle sacrifices of joy, I will sing, yea, I ivill sing 
xcv. 2. praises unto the Lord; Let us come before his presence with 
thanksgiving, and shew ourselves glad in him with psalms. 
The very confession of our sins, of our infirmities and 
defects, of our spiritual wants ; the laying open the wounds 
and distempers of our soul, before our most skilful and 
faithful Physician (together with imploring pardon and grace 
to heal them), is very comfortable; it was not without com- 

Rejoice evermore. 181 

fort that David said, (/ said) Lord, be merciful unto me, seem. 
heal my soul, for I have sinned against thee. " 

The illapses of God's Holy Spirit (the blessed Com- Ps. xli. 4 ; 
forter) those beams of heavenly light darted into our minds, 
those touches of the divine finger warbling on the heart- 
strings, those consolations whereby God is pleased to en- 
courage those, who with humble reverence approach and 
apply themselves to him, how do they beyond expression 
melt a devout soul with ravishing transports of affection ! 

Wherefore with great reason those excellent masters 
and patterns of devotion did so willingly, so gladly apply 
themselves to it ; preferring it before any other employment 
or entertainment ; / was glad when they said unto me, Let cxxn - r ; 
us go into the house of the Lord : My soul longeth, yea even lxxxiv. 2, 
fainteth for the courts of the Lord ; A day in thy courts is 
letter than a thousand : I had rather be a doorkeeper in the 
house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness : 
One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will L seek after, xxvii - 4 ; 
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord, all the days of 
my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in 
his temple. Well might he assert, well might he promise, 
concerning devout people, They shall be abundantly satisfied xxxvi. 8. 
with the fatness of thy house, and thou shalt make them drink 
of the river of thy pleasures. 

Well might he invite and provoke men to devotion in 
such terms as these, come, let us sing unto the Lord, let Ps. xcv. 1. 
us heartily rejoice in the strength of our salvation: Serve c 2. 
the Lord with gladness, and come before his presence with a 

Indeed, no man ever unwillingly, or uncheerfully doth 
go into the presence of a person whom he loveth ; no man 
without satisfaction and pleasure doth entertain conversation 
with his dear friend. 

And if there hath been in the world a prince, of that 

benignity and sweetness, as to obtain a commendation that 

he let none go sad out of his presence a ; how much less 

will the infinite goodness of God suffer any man (who with 

a Neminem a se tristem dimisit. 

7— ii. 

182 Rejoice evermore. 

SERM. hearty faith and humble reverence doth address to him) to 

XXXIX. j eave n ; m w jth ou t having received satisfaction ? 

VII. We should continually rejoice in paying our due 
obedience to the will and law of God. 

The laws of God in themselves are very pleasant"; as 
approved by the mind, and agreeable to reason ; as carrying 
much tranquillity, much security, much sweetness in the 
practice of them ; as producing good fruits, and being 
attended with consequences very satisfactory; (as enlight- 
ening, enlarging, enriching, ennobling, and embellishing the 
soul, the person, the life of him that observeth them, with 
the most useful conveniences, and with the most graceful 
ornaments) ; as voiding manifold evils, grievances, and trou- 

Ps. xix. bles; according to that of the Psalmist, The law of the Lord 
is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is 
sure, making wise the simple ; the statutes of the Lord are 
right, rejoicing the heart ; the commandment of the Lord is 
pure, enlightening the eyes ; the judgments of the Lord are 
true, and righteous altogether ; more to be desired than gold, 
yea than much fine gold ; sioeeter also than honey and the 
honeycomb; and in keeping of them there is great reward. 

Obedience, therefore, hath a direct, innate, absolute 
pleasure contained in it, going with it, and following it ; 
there is also great satisfaction arising from reflections of 
soul upon it ; for, who would not delight in serving so kind, 
so good, so munificent a Master \ who protecteth so surely 
who feedeth so plentifully, who clotheth so handsomely, 
who payeth so large wages to his servants I who treateth 
them as friends, yea as children? 

No man, while he is practising obedience, can without 
glee consider, that he then acteth wisely and soberly, that 
he is performing his duty, and driving on his true interest, 
that he is pleasing God, and executing the will of his Lord, 
his Judge, his Rewarder ; that he is walking in the paths 
of life, and earning the wages of happiness, and treasuring 

i Tim. vi. up to himself a good foundation for eternity; that he is 
escaping the most dismal mischief naturally and justly con- 
sequent on disobedience ; of mind, the wrath and 


Rejoice evermore. 183 

displeasure of God, the judgment and vengeance to come, SERM. 
eternal shame and woe. 

No man, after a careful and faithful observance of God's 
law, can without delight review it ; he will have the steady 
pleasure of a good conscience, attended with a comfortable 
hope ; he will entertain himself with that continual feast of Prov. xv. 
a merry heart ; a heart therefore truly merry, because it 
doth not condemn the person of having neglected his duty, i John ill. 
and betrayed his welfare ; according to that of St Paul, 2l ' 
Our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in 2 Cor. i. 12. 
simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but 
by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the 

As there is no victory so glorious, so there is none so 
joyous, and which yieldeth such exultation, such triumph, 
as that over vices, over appetites, over passions, over temp- 
tations, over the spiritual enemies, which war against our 
soul, and impugn our salvation, which seduce us from God 
and our duty. 

Hence it is the character and property of a good man, 
that He greatly delighteth in God's commandments ; That the Ps. i. 2 ; 
commandments are not qrievous to him. cx "' I k 

* CX1X. 10. 

Hence it is said that, It is joy to the just to do judgment ; 1 John v. 3. 
that, They have great peace who love God's law, and nothing t™ v ' XX1 ' 
shall of end them ; that, The ways of toisdom (or piety) are Ps - cxix - 
ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace ; that, The Prov. iii. 
yoke of our Lord is easy, and his burden light; and that, ^; tt xi 
Whoever taketh his yoke on him shall find rest to his soul ; 3°, 29. 
that, The work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect i sa i. xxxii. 
of righteousness, quietness, and assurance for ever. J 7- 

So obedience in general doth yield joy, and comfort; 
and to every part thereof, to the practice of each virtue, 
there are some peculiar delights annexed ; we have particu- 
larly seen it in those of faith, of hope, of love to God ; and 
easily we may discern it in other virtues, if we do but cast 
a glance on them. 

How sweet is meekness ! or that temper of soul, which 1 Pet. iii. 
keepeth us from being soon exasperated, or easily inflamed s ' 

184 Rejoice evermore. 

SFRM. w ;th anger; from being apt to take things ill, to be sorely 
1 offended with any cross occurrence, to resent deeply any 
provocation ; from harbouring any rancorous grudge, or 
hatching any spiteful design. How doth it keep sorrow 
from the heart ; how doth it quench froward and fretful 
humours, which gnaw the soul ; how doth it smother enmi- 
ties and contentions ; how doth it prevent the troubles 
and mischiefs issuing thence ! While it keepeth us from 
being hurtful or offensive to others, doth it not free us from 
being troubled or grieved ourselves? While it allayeth 
our resentments of evil, doth it not in effect remove them, 
or bereave them of their poison and their sting ? To him 
that taketh all things well, what can happen ill ? When the 
mind is calm and serene ; not ruffled or clouded with any 
peevish humour, with any boisterous passion, with any 
mischievous intent, how can any sorrow or anguish have any 
place there? 

How satisfactory is contentedness ! the great elixir, the 
universal remedy of evil ; which rendereth all events either 
most acceptable, or very tolerable ; which savoureth the best 
in every condition, and distasteth not the worst ; which, by 
closing with God's will, doth enjoy its own, which, by suiting 
its desire to things, doth accommodate things to its desire ; 
which rendereth us in effect happy, because satisfied, and 
not affecting a change. 

How delectable is humility ! the which suppressing vain 
conceits, fond admiration, doating affection toward ourselves, 
together with perverse sturdiness of will, and haughty sto- 
mach, doth preserve us from distempered humours and 
inflammations of mind, from being grievously afflicted with 
any disappointments and disasters ; from taking some 
offence at men's deportment or dealing with us ; from beino- 
disturbed by imaginary wants, or indignities befalling us ; 
for having true, that is, mean and modest judgments of 
ourselves, being sensible of our own infirmities and defects, 
we shall quietly comport with all events arriving to us, and 
whatever dealing we meet with, as not being worse than 
we deserve. It will not much offend us, if every thing do 


Rejoice evermore. 185 

not hit according to our fancy or desire ; if men dissent Jf™£ 

from our opinion, or cross our humour ; if they do not yield 1 

us respect, if they do not comply with our pleasure ; we 
cannot think men hereby do us much wrong, or great 
discourtesy, seeing we cannot pretend to much regard or 
deference ; at least we do not merit anything better from 
God, (being less than the least of all his mercies) It is o/^V. 
the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, and have reason L ;im . m. 
to acquiesce in his providence. Whence our mind, not 
swelling against men, and submitting to God, will enjoy a 
sweet rest and peace ; it will happen according to that of 
the Prophet, The meek shall increase their joy in the Lord, l*u. xxix. 
and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of 19 ' 

How cheerful is temperance ! which keepeth the body 
in sound health, in right temper, in good tune ; a fit instru- 
ment of the mind, for discharging its functions of reason 
and wisdom, in prosecution of what is good and profitable 
for us ; which enjoying the good things bestowed by the 
divine liberality on us, in that way and measure which God 
did intend and reason doth approve, doth find them true 
enjoyments ; as innocent and safe, so also very pleasant and 
savoury ; which preventing the redundance of crude humours 
and turbulent spirits, subtracting the fuel of lust and passion, 
doth preserve the soul in a still, clear, and sedate condition ; 
which freeth us from painful surfeits, from irksome satieties, 
from the grievous aches, and vexatious diseases, which follow 
all kinds of intemperance 

How pleasant is justice ! which dealing fairly, rendering 
every man his due, observing laws and contracts, doth keep 
the practiser of it in quiet at home and abroad 6 ; so that he 
is not engaged in vexatious quarrels and suits ; is not entan- 
gled with cares to maintain his injuries ; is not persecuted 

AiKaiovvvqs Kapiros fieytaros drapa^ia — Epicurus apud Clem. 
Alexand. Str. vi. [Opp. Tom. i. p. 751. J 

Beftaiov e£eis tov j3ioi> dincuos a>v 

Xcopis re dopv^ov na\ (pofHov fijceij KaXcSj. 

Aristoph. Ibid. 


186 Rejoice evermore. 

SERM. with clamours and complaints; is not exposed to that 

XXXIX - shame and disgrace which ever follow dishonesty ; is not 

rejected from conversation and commerce, (for none willingly 

have to do with unjust persons) is not forced or at least 

obliged to restitution. 

Charity is very joyful, as voiding all disquieting and 
fretting dispositions of soul ; shifting anger, banishing envy, 
i John iv. suppressing revenge, casting out Fear, which, as St John 
1 ' saith, hath torment. 

It settleth our mind in a sweet, calm, serene state ; in an 
even temper. 

VIII. We should ever rejoice in the patient sustaining 
all crosses, adversities, afflictions incident to us c 

It may be excepted against this precept, that it is not 

seasonable, that it is not proper or comely (yea, that it is 

scarce possible) in such cases. A man should conform his 

Eccles. iii. mind to his condition and circumstances ; seeing then, There 

is, the Wise Man saith, not only a time to laugh and to 

dance ; but a time also to weep and to mourn ; seeing there 

vii. 4. are junctures when The heart of the wise is in the house of 

Isai. xxii. mourning ; seeing God, as it is in the Prophet, sometimes 

I2 ' doth call to weeping and to mourning, to baldness and to gird- 

Eccles. vii. i n g w %tJi sackcloth ; seeing, it is the Wise Man's advice, In 

4- the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity 

consider, or reflect with sober sadness on your condition, is 

it not absurd then to rejoice ? 

Yea, how can we do it, if we would, when our nature 

doth forbid it ; when our body is tortured with pain, when 

our mind is disturbed with molestations of care, and fear, 

and anxiety ; when our case is really sad and lamentable ; 

how can a man rejoice, who is sorely pinched with want of 

things needful, who is grievously afflicted with disease ; who 

is extremely disappointed of his hopes and defeated in his 

Vs. cxxiii. endeavours, ungratefully abused, scornfully despised, basely 

xxii. 6 ; ' defamed, wrongfully oppressed, cruelly persecuted, who is 

xliv - r 3> bereaved of his goods, of his honours, of his friends, of every 

comfort ? Will not nature in such cases extort sorrow from 

e Vid. Chrys. 'Av8p. irj'. [Opp. Tom. vt. p. 586. J 

Rejoice evermore. 187 

us; is it not absurd to expect joy then? Shall we not be SEEM. 

forced to do as David did, Mine eye moumeth by reason of _^ U. 

affliction ; I mourn in my complaint, and am vexed, because ^^X 1 - 3j 
of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the™ x ™ 3; 
wicked; Reproach hath broken my heart, and I am full o/ixix. 20. 
heaviness ? May we not as Hezekiah, chatter like a crane or Isai. 
a swallow, and mourn as a dove \ Can we forbear to resent, xxxvnl - 14 ~ 
as Job did, the extremity of misfortune ; or to lament with Job m- ^o 
Jeremy in the depth of affliction ? 2—10. 

There is much plausible appearance in this discourse; Lam - 1U - '■ 
yet, notwithstanding, in such cases we should, and may 
rejoice ; it is reasonable, it is laudable, it is very feasible to 
do it, for, 

If we consider, that all such events (how cross soever to 
our carnal sense, or corrupt fancy) are disposed to us by 
a most wise, most just, most gracious hand, with best in- 
tentions, to the best purposes ; that they proceed from love, 
and conduce to our good : if we consider, that afflictions do 
not rise from the dust, or issue from a blind chance, but are 
dispensed to us by deepest counsel, and from the will of our 
best friend, and consequently must needs be very wholesome 
and profitable to us : if we consider, that they are meant, 
and do serve, to instruct and improve our minds, to correct 
and polish our manners, to exercise and prove our virtues, 
(especially our love of God, our faith in him, our hope) ; to 
cleanse and refine us from the dross of carnal and worldly 
affections, to withdraw us from that friendship of the world James iv. 
which is enmity to God, a fond admiration, and fast ad- 4 ' 
herence to these inferior sensible things ; to shew us the 
legitimate sons of God upon whom he vouchsafeth to bestow Heb.xii. 8. 
his fatherly chastisement ; to endear us to God ; to prepare Ps. cxxvi. 
us by sowing in tears to reap in joy; assuring our title to |i at t. v .i2. 
future joy, and enhancing our reward: if, I say, we do con- Jamesi.12. 
template and weigh these things, we cannot but see great I e ' 1- 7 ' 
cause to rejoice in any adversity ; for, if a sickly person had 
offered to him a cup of physic, which assuredly would 
recover or confirm his health, would he not gladly take it 
down ? if a poor wretch for a few stripes should have a fair 

188 Rejoice evermore. 

SEEM, estate conferred on him, would he not joyfully bear them ? if 
x xxix. any man for jj tt j e p amg j aa( j mogt am pi e wa ges proposed to 

him, would he not be fond of undergoing such pains ? Good 
James i. 2, reason therefore had St James to exhort, My brethren, count 
3 ' it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (or troubles) ; 

knowing this, that the trial of your faith worketh patience; 

with good reason our Lord did command his disciples (in 

case of their being persecuted, reviled, and slandered), 
Matt, v.i 2. Ecjoice and be exceeding glad ; for great is yotir reward in 


Well doth the Apostle to the Hebrews represent and 
Heb. xii. determine the case, when he saith, No chastening for the 

present seemeth joyous, but grievous ; nevertheless afterward 

it yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness unto them 

which are exercised thereby. 
Ps. lxi. 2 ; If we consider also, that God will support us in 
ix^ij v 2 . ' afflictions, not permitting us to sink under them; for, God 
cxvi. 3, 4. i s faithful, who will not suffer us to be tempted above what 
13. ' we are able ; but will with the temptation also make a way to 

escape, that we may be able to bear it. 
1 Thess. iv. That God will accompany the visitations of his hand 
I3- with the consolations of his Holy Spirit, if we do patiently 

1 Cor. i. 3, bear the one, and devoutly seek the other ; for, God is the 
4 ' 5- fathers of pities, who comforteth us in all our tribulations. 
James i. 4. That God in convenient time (when patience hath had 

its perfect work) will remove his hand, and relieve us from our 
distresses. It is very pleasant to foresee the time when a 

Ps. xxxi. 7. man shall say with David, / will be glad and rejoice in thy 
mercy; for thou hast considered my trouble, thou hast known 
my soul in adversity. 

John xvi. Shall we not have sufficient cause to rejoice ? 

2 °' The very bearing of afflictions with patience, and will- 

ingly submitting to God's will, hath in it a comfortable 
satisfaction and sweetness, more exceeding the pleasure of 
any temporal prosperity; a man cannot without great con- 

l8 ' a ' ' tent and ease say, It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth 

2 Kings g 00 d f j t i m ; Good is the word of the Lord which thou hast 
Job i. 21. spoken: The Lord hath given, the Lord hath taken aicay ; 

Rejoice evermore. 189 

blessed be the name of the Lord: Let not my will but thine seem. 
be done. ~JL1_' 

Neither hath a sober and moderate resentment of tem- Luke xxii. 
poral evils an inconsistency with spiritual joy ; a man may 
feel pain, he may dislike cross occurrences ; he may be dis- 
pleased with injurious and unworthy dealings towards him ; 
yet so that the comforts springing from contemplation of 
God, his truth, his law, his providence, from the satisfaction 
of his conscience, from the hopes of salvation, from the John xvi - 
assurance of far better things appertaining to him than the 
world can bereave him of, from the apprehension of God's 
special favour and mercy even in those dispensations of pro- 
vidence, will temper and alleviate, will overbalance and Acts v. 41. 
depress sorrow, dejection, disconsolateness, and discourage- 
ment; so David saith of himself, Trouble and anguish have rs.xxxviii. 
taken hold on me, yet thy commandments are my delight. So I4 ' 
the holy Apostles were, As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing. 1 Cor. vi. 
So St Paul saith, i" take pleasure in infirmities and reproaches, '° ( \ 
in necessities and persecutions, in distresses for Chrisfs sake. 10. 
So the primitive saints Took joyfully the spoiling of their goods, Heb. x. 34 . 
knotting in themselves, that they had in heaven a better and 
an enduring substance. They did greatly rejoice, although for 1 Pet. i. 6. 
a season (as need was) they were in heaviness through mani- 
fold temptation. 

We may, indeed, even in those instances of holy men 
under the Law expressing their sorrowful resentment of 
extreme afflictions, we may discern lightsome flashes of joy ; 
and that their complaints are mixed with a comfortable trust 
and hope in God. 

Job, in the midst of all his mournful — could say, I know Job xix. 
that my Redeemer liveth. 2 5- 

David, Ps. xxxviii. 15 ; xxxi. 14; cxvi. 7 — 10. 

In the midst of the thoughts within me thy comforts p s . X civ. 
delight my soul. I am the man, said Jeremy, that hath seen £9- ..." 
afflictions by the rod of his wrath. He hath filled me with 1-^5!"' 
bitterness, he hath made me drunken with wormwood; but 
presently, The Lord, saith he, is my portion ; therefore will Lam. iii. 
/ hope in him. The Lord is good to them that wait for him, 24 ' n ' 
to the soul that seeketh him. 

190 Rejoice evermore. 

SERM. IX. We should ever rejoice in penitence for our sins. 

XXXIX. rpj^ g rea t es t exception to which (both as to its reason- 
ableness and possibility) this precept is liable, is this, that 

Jamesiii.2. we are sinners, and, In many things, as St James saith, do 
offend all; whence we are obliged, and it becometh us, to be 
heartily sorry, to be contrite and broken in spirit, . to feel 
bitter remorse, to bewail our case ; for, 

Doth not all reason, all ingenuity and equity require 
sorrow for our sins ? Can we love God, can we fear him, can 
we believe him to be most just, most powerful, most good 
without it ? Can we be sensible of having grievously pro- 
voked God's displeasure, of having crossed his holy will, 
of having abused his great mercy and bounty; of having 
incurred most heinous guilt, and deserved most woful punish- 
ment, without sensible regret and sore anguish? Can we 
with a light heart apprehend ourselves exposed to the fierce 
wrath and severe judgment of the Almighty ? 
•2 Cor. vii. Is there not a Godly sorrow, $ Kara Ocov \vnrj, (or a 
' ' sorrow according to God ; according to God's law and will) 
which St Paul commendeth as conducing to repentance ; pro- 
ducing diligence, confession (jirokoylav), regret, fear, holy 
desire, pious zeal, just revenge ? 

Joel 11. 12, Doth not God command us, that, We turn unto him with 
13. , 

weeping and mourning ; that, We rend our hearts and turn 

Jamesiv.9. unto him ; that, We he afflicted and mourn and weep ; that, 
Our laughter he turned to mourning, and our joy to heaviness? 
Isai. lxvi. Hath not God a special regard to him, Who is poor, (or 
afflicted) and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at his word? 
Isai. lvii. Doth not he affirm, that He dwelleth with him that is of a 
l's. xxxiv. contrite and humble spirit ? Is not The Lord nigh unto them 
l8 ' that are of a broken heart, and saveth such as be of a contrite 

Ph. li. 1 7. spirit ? Are not broken and contrite hearts the proper sacri- 
fices of God, most grateful and acceptable to him ? 

Was holy David blameable, who so often in most dolor- 
ous terms doth bemoan his guilt, and his misery consequent 
on it? There is, said David, no soundness in my flesh because 
of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because 
of my sins; for mine iniquities are gone even over my head: 
as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me ; my wounds 

Rejoice evermore. 191 

stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness ; I am troubled, SEEM. 

/ am bowed down greatly, I go mourning all the day long. "^ J ' 

My life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing ; my Pa. xxxi. 

strength faileth because of mine iniquity, und my bones are 

consumed. Innumerable evils have compassed me about, mine Ps. xi. 11. 

iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to 

look up : they are more than the hairs of my head, therefore 

my heart faileth me. When God is angry, should we not be 

grieved ? when he doth avert his favour, have we not reason 

to be like the Psalmist? Thou didst hide thy face, and I was Ps. xxx. 7. 


If things are thus, how can we continually rejoice ? is 
any joy consistent with so pungent sorrow ? can one breast 
harbour guests so repugnant, so destructive each to other ? 
And seeing we continually sin, have we not rather cause 
perpetually to mourn and grieve ? 

This objection is very shrewd, yet I answer to it, 

1 The obstruction of joy by penitential sorrow is only 
accidental, and grounded upon a supposition of that which 
ought not to be, for we are commanded absolutely to rejoice 
always, but only to mourn in case of sin ; that is a direct 
and primary duty, this a consequential and secondary one ; 
the observation of that would prevent the need of this ; if 
we would forbear the poison of sin, we should have no 
occasion for the antidote of contrition. In effect therefore, 
the precept to rejoice always doth imply a prohibition of ever 
sinning ; and our obligation to mourn in consequence of our 
fault should not derogate from the duty which excludeth 

2 It is true that pure and perfect joy doth suppose 
innocence, and exclude sin ; there can be no paradise here, 
because no perfect innocence, but yet true joy 

3 Supposing sin, I answer, that true joy is very con- John xvi 
sistent with contrition and godly sorrow ; the state of a 33- 
penitent may be really pleasant, as, according to the Wise 

Man, Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful, so reciprocally Prov. xiv. 
in mourning the heart may be joyful. The very reflection I3 * 
upon our practice, that we are duly sensible of our sins, that 

192 Rejoice evermore. 

SERM. we are displeased for offending God, (which is an argument 

_^_1 of our love to him, and reverence of him) that we are concerned 

for the welfare of our souls (which is a sign of a sober mind, 

of true wisdom, of spiritual life in us) may greatly satisfy 

and please us. 

The contemplation of God's mercy, of his gracious 

nature, of his favourable intentions, his readiness to embrace 

us upon repentance, and to bestow pardon upon us ; of an 

atonement provided for us, of reconciliation offered to us, of 

a glorious advocate interceding for us, is very sweet and 

comfortable ; what greater comfort can there be, than for a 

soul aggrieved with sense of guilt to hear those words of 

i John ii. St John, If any man sin, we have an advocate with the 

2' Cor. v. Father, Jesus Christ the righteous ; and he is the propitiation 
10. y or our s i ns 9 

Heb. iv. The liberty granted to us of suing to (addressing) the 

throne of grace, and pouring out our hearts before God in 

humble confessing of sin, and imploring mercy, is delectable, 

Prov. especially considering the promise annexed to it, that, If we 

iJohni. g con f ess our s ^ ns -> God is faithful and just to forgive us our 

sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

The very tears of repentance have a balsamic, anodynous, 
refreshing, and healing virtue d ; contrition, melting and mol- 
lifying the heart, doth render it susceptive of comfortable 
impressions, and giveth a delicious relish to the hope of 

We may observe, that commonly the greatest pleasures 
in nature are those which are joined with some pain ; emer- 
gency from any pressure, convalescency from a disease, 
evasion from a danger, recovery from lassitude, do yield 
more sensible delight than a perfect state of ease, of health, 
of safety, of rest : so, by penitence to be eased from the 
burden of sin, to recover from the distemper of it, to eschew 
the punishment of it, doth in a manner more please than to 
have continued in innocence. 

KaBimep rwv 8(v8piov ai pi£ai avrai fxiv eio-i iriKpai, rjStaTovs Se 
rjplv roils Kapnuvs (ptpovaiv ovra Si) /cat r) Kara Scop \v7nj ttoX\!]V 
ij/ili/ o'laei rr)v r)bovi)v. — Chrys. \vbp. irf [Opp. Tom. VI. p. . r >SI>.] 

Rejoice evermore. 193 

God himself is pleased to infuse the balm of consolation SEEM. 


into a soul wounded with remorse for sin. He (saith the '_ 

Psalmist) healeth the broken hearted, and bindeth up their Ps. cxlvii. 
wounds ; He reviveth the spirit of the humble, and the heart |g ai i vi; _ 
of the contrite ones; He to them who mourn in Sion doth give r S- 
beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment o/"i S ai. lxi. 3! 
praise for the spirit of heaviness. He entertaineth the return- 
ing prodigal with a delicious feast, and saith, Bring hither Luke xv. 
the fatted calf and Mil it, and let us eat and be merry. 23 ' 32 ' 

Our Lord himself has pronounced those happy who 
mourn: Blessed are they who do mourn; for they shall 6<? Matt, v. 4. 
comforted. And, if any mourners are happy, if any be quali- 
fied for comfort, it is those who grieve for having displeased 
God ; their condition is, indeed, most sad as to the cause, 
but their heart may be joyful as to the consequence of their 
sorrow ; the promise is most pertinent to them, They that Ps. cxxvi. 
sow in tears shall reap in joy. We may derive pleasure even s ' 
from the contemplation of our sins, of our defects, of our 2Cor.xii.9. 
infirmities, as from deadly poisonous weeds honey is sucked. 

If we look on sin as implying folly, baseness, ingratitude, 
turpitude, it hath an ugly visage ; if we look on it as beget- 
ting guilt, anger, a curse, and vengeance, its aspect is dread- 
ful ; and we should say, Woe to us, for we have sinned ; Lam. v. 16. 
but if we contemplate it as humbling us, as rendering us 
sober, as producing good resolutions, as breeding circum- 
spection and vigilance, as disposing us to submission to 
God's will, as occasioning the hope of mercy, the experience 
of divine goodness, a grateful sense of God's patience and 
mercy, it may yield satisfaction ; and when we stand upon 
the shore we may view our wrack with some pleasure; we 
may hear with comfort those sacred aphorisms: Blessed is Ps.xxxii.i. 
he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 

We may for that praise God, and no praise will be more Ps. xxxii. 
cheerful than that : Bless the Lord, my soul, and forget p' s 
not all his benefits ; who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who 3> IO - 
healeth all thy diseases. 

God out of good and gracious intent doth permit sin to 
be, and suffereth even good men to fall ; that his grace may 
B. S. VOL. III. 13 

cm. 2. 

194 Rejoice evermore. 

SERM. abound 6 , and his mercy may be glorified in restoring them. 
XXXIX - And from that wherein God's wisdom is seen, whereby his 
goodness triumpheth, whereby glory doth accrue to him, we 
may receive satisfaction. 

If we reflect on our sins, with an obstinate resolution to 
persist in them, and to continue in enmity with God, without 
humble supplication for peace and pardon, without hope of 
mercy ; then, indeed, we can have no true comfort ; but this 
is a rejecting of joy, this is a flat defiance to the precept of 
rejoicing always. 

Let us consider, that the most steady pleasure, or satis- 
faction of mind, is that which ariseth from a temperament of 
sadness and comfort ; for those brisk and airy pleasures which 
are not alloyed with pensive considerations, want a body, 
are flashy, soon become flaccid, vapid, and decay into putrid 
stench and sourness ; but the joy which is incorporated with 
sober sadness hath a solid fixation, and is not easily cor- 
rupted or dissipated ; that sober calmness of mind, which 
ariseth from serious weighing and poising the reasons which 
incline both to joy and grief, is durable ; and, as it is not so 
luscious as mere pleasure, so it is more savoury ; the mind 
satisfying itself in the wisdom and wholesomeness of it. 
Ecdes. vii. The Preacher telleth us, that, It is better to go to the 

2, 3, 4. # ' ' _ • 7 

house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting ; that, 
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart 
of fools is in the house of mirth ; that, Sorrow is better than 
laughter ; but why doth he say this ; he that so often advis- 

Eccles.viii. eth men to rejoice, who affirmeth that, There is nothing under 

15 ; 111. 12 ; fag sun oe tf er t] ian f oe m erry ; who calleth joy a good gift 

22 ; v. 18. of God ? 

His reason is, because from a serious consideration of 
doleful objects the soul is disposed into a better frame, and 

Eccles. vii. rendered more capable of true content, of solid joy ; For, 
saith he, by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made 
better. And surely the sadness which bettereth the heart is a 
comfortable sadness ; at least in consequence; pleasant fruits 

Ov fie inkeovaaev 17 afiaprla, wepe7Tept'<7creuerei> j) \"P ts - — Rom. 
v. 20. 

Rejoice evermore. 195 

growing from that bitter root ; whereas vain mirth discom- SERM. 
poseth the mind, is soon turned into gall; and The end of . 

that mirth is heaviness. Jobxx. 14. 

He that will comply with this precept, must in order and Prov. xiv. 
preparation thereto do thus. 

1 He must labour to purify his heart, and watch over 
his ways ; that his conscience be not defiled with sin. For 
no true joy is consistent with a conscience very foul. 

2 He particularly must abstain from presumptuous sins, Ps. *ix- 13- 
which do waste the conscience. 

He that lifteth up his hand in wilful rebellion against 
God, shall be sure to find discomfort. 

3 He must void habits of vice, which are chronical isai. xlyiii. 
diseases of the soul, accompanied with continual pain; which 2I ' 

put a man in a state of enmity with God, and consequently 
destitute of peace. 

No man can have any true, steady joy, who is not at 
peace with God. 

4 He must be watchful over all his actions and conver- 
sation, that he does not offend. 

So far as any man is negligent, or slothful in respect of 
his duty, so far he will find sorrow. 

If a man indulge himself in any bad thing, he shall find 

To conclude, there is but one thing in the world for 
which we have good reason heartily to grieve, that is, sin ; 
but this grief we should avoid, by removing the cause of 
it ; but if we sin we have a comfort, that we have an 
Advocate with the Father ; we should rejoice in our repent- 
ance, we should rejoice in God's mercy, &c. 





Prov IV 23. 
Keep thy heart with all diligence. 

seem. "OEFORE we do apply ourselves to inculcate this 
J-J precept, it is requisite that we should some- 
what explain the terms, and settle the meaning 
thereof; in doing that, we begin with the last 
words, which qualify the action enjoined as to its 
degree or extent; With all diligence: the words 
answering to these in the Hebrew p$pb"73ft) do, 
according to the various use or force of the particle 
p, admit a threefold acception. They may (1) de- 
note absolutely the intenseness in degree, or exten- 
sion in kind, of the performance required in this 
precept: tldari cpvXaKrj rripei gyjv KctpSiav, Omni custodia 
serva cor tuum; Keep thy heart with all custody; 
that is, with all sorts or with all degrees of care and 
diligence ; so the LXX. interpreters, and the vulgar 
Latin following them, render those words. They 
may, (2) taking the particle for a Mem excellentice, 
as they call it, signify comparatively; Prce omni 
custodia serva cor tuum ; Keep thy heart above all 
keeping; that is, especially and more than thou 
keepest any other thing; so doth Pagnin under- 
stand them ; not without cause, both for the reason 
subjoined here, Because from it are the issues of life; 

Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 197 

that is, because it is the principal part and fountain seem. 

of all vital operations, and therefore deserveth the — 

best custody; as also for that in what follows, and 
in other places of scripture frequently, we are en- 
joined to keep our tongues from bad discourse, our 
eyes from wandering after bad objects, our feet from 
declining to bad courses ; and therefore probably in 
comparison to these, although needful and inferior 
custodies, we are admonished to this most especially 
incumbent custody of our hearts. They may also, 
(3) and that probably enough, be taken so as to 
denote the universality of the object, or matter of 
this keeping, or the adequate term and bound 
thereof; Keep thy heart, ano ttcivto? (pvXdyfiaros, 
ah omni re custodienda, from every thing which it 
should he kept from ; that is, from every thing 
offensive or hurtful to it : so did Aquila and Theo- 
dotion translate the words. These senses are all of 
them good, and each may fairly pretend to find 
place in the meaning of the words ; which of them 
with most likelihood I shall not discuss, meaning 
only to insist upon the substance of the precept; 
the nature of which being duly considered, will 
infer, that it is to be observed according to the 
manner and measure prescribed, understood accord- 
ing to any of those senses, or according to all of 
them conjointly. 

As for the meaning of the words, Keep thy 
heart, two enquiries may be made: I. What the 
heart is, which Solomon adviseth us to keep : II. 
What to keep it doth import. 

I. To the first I answer, that, in the style of 
scripture, the heart doth commonly import the 

x ' J L . 7 . Rom. vii. 

whole inward man, 'O eVw avQpwnros, The man within 22. 

198 Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 

serm. us } as St Paul speaketh; 'O upwards tw mpS'ias 
XL " avdpwros, The hidden man of the heart, as St Peter 

iPet.iii.4. calleth it, comprehending all the thoughts and ima- 
ginations, all the inclinations and dispositions, all 
the judgments and opinions, all the passions and 
affections, all the resolutions and purposes formed 
within us ; in short, all interior, whether tendencies 
to move, or actual motions of human soul. For 
the scriptrure (by the way we may observe it) 
seemeth to favour that anciently most common and 
current opinion, (embraced by Aristotle himself, 
even as true in strict philosophy, although rejected 
by most of the latter schools,) that the heart, that 
material part and principal entrail of our body, is 
the chief seat of the soul, and immediate instrument 
of its noblest operations. However, because the 
heart in a man's breast is most inwardly seated, 
most secluded from sight, guarded from access, 
fenced from danger, thence whatever is inmost, 
most invisible, most inaccessible in any thing, is 
called the heart thereof; and all a man's secret 
thoughts, inclinations, opinions, affections, designs, 
are involved in this name ; sometimes all, or divers 
of them conjunctly, are called his heart; sometimes 
any one of them singly (as there is subject or occa- 
sion of using the word) is so termed : instances in 
every kind are innumerably many, and very obvious; 
and therefore I shall not spend time in producing 
any ; but shall suppose, that here the word may 
be understood in its utmost extent, so as to com- 
prehend all the particulars intimated: there being 
no apparent reason for preferring or excluding 
any; all of them being capable of moral quality, 
both simply and immediately in themselves, and 

Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 199 

consequentially" as they may be the principles of seem. 

good or bad actions ; and because all of them may '. — 

be, need to be, ought to be, the objects of the 
keeping here enjoined. 

II. But then what is this keeping? I answer, 
that the word, as applied to this matter, is es- 
pecially capable of three senses, each of which may 
be exemplified. 

i It may imply to observe, that is, to keep it 
under a constant view, as it were; to mark or at- 
tend unto, to inquire into and study our heart. So, 
My son, saith the Wise Man, give me thy heart, Piw.xxiii. 
and let thine eyes keep (or observe) my ways : the 
same word which here, is there used, both in the 
Hebrew and Greek, and can there well signify no 
other custody but that of attending unto; it being 
the office of the eye only to look and observe. 
Likewise, Observe, saith God in the Law, and ^ 8 eut - xu - 
hear all these words vjhich I command thee ; that 
is, hear them very attentively: and so in divers 
other places. 

2 It may also denote the governance or good 
management of our hearts, keeping all the motions 
thereof in due order, within fit compass, applying 
them to good, and restraining them from bad 
things: so the Psalmist useth the word, when he 
saith, / will keep my mouth with a bridle; that is, Ps - xxxbc - 
I will so rule and curb it, that no evil language 
shall issue from it: so when the "Wise Man ad- 
viseth to keep our foot when we go to the house of Ecdes.v.i. 
God; by keeping it, he means rightly to guide 
and order our proceedings, or well to dispose our- 
selves, when we address ourselves to religious per- ^ 
formances : so again, He, saith he, that Jeeepeth the xxvii. 18. 

200 Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 

seem, fig-tree, shall eat the fruit thereof; he that keepeth 
. XL " it, that is, he that dresseth and ordereth it to ad- 
vantage for bearing fruit. 

3 Again, keeping may be taken for preserving, 
guarding, securing from mischief or damage ; which, 
indeed, is the most common use of the word, and 
therefore we need no instancing to countenance it. 

Now any of these senses may be intended here, 
or all of them together; and they, indeed, are in the 
nature of the thing so coherent, or so mutually de- 
pendent one on the other, that any one of them can 
hardly be practised without the rest: for without 
needfully observing our heart, we cannot well go- 
vern it; and an ill governed heart cannot easily be 
attended to ; and without both watchful observation 
and skilful management of it, we cannot guard it 
from evil; and reciprocally, without guarding it, we 
cannot well rule it, or duly mind it : such a compli- 
cation there is in practice of these three custodies. 

I shall at present only discourse concerning the 
first of them, which seems in the nature of things, 
and according to our method of acting, to precede. 
According to this exposition, when it is said, Keep 
thy heart with all diligence, we may understand it, 
as if each of us were thus advised : With a most 
constant and wary care observe all the interior pro- 
pensions and motions of thy soul ; whatever is done 
or designed within thee, whither thy desires lean, 
what thy affections are stirred by, to what thy 
judgment of things doth lead thee; with greatest 
attention and assiduity mark and ponder it. 

It is a peculiar excellency of human nature, 
which seemeth more to distinguish a man from 
any inferior rank of creatures than bare reason 

Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 201 

itself, that he can reflect upon all that is done within serm. 

him, can discern the tendencies of his soul, is ac- — 

quainted with his own purposes. Some shadows 
of other rational operations are discoverable in 
beasts ; and it is not easy to convince them, who, 
from plausible experiments, do affirm them some- 
times to syllogize: but no good reason or experi- 
ence can, I suppose, make it probable, that they 
partake of this reflexive faculty; that they do ever 
regard or remark upon their own imaginations; 
they seem always to march directly forward with a 
blind impetuousness toward some pleasing object, 
without attending to the fancy that guides them, 
or the appetite which excites them : neither indeed 
do they seem to need any such power in order to 
the preservation of their life, or gratifying of their 
sense, which are the main ends they were designed 
and fitted for. But man being designed by his 
Maker, disposed by the frame of his nature, and 
obliged by a law imposed on him, not to follow 
casual impulses from exterior objects, nor the bare 
conduct of his imagination, nor the sway of his 
natural propensities; but to regulate as well the 
internal workings of his soul, as his external ac- 
tions, according to certain laws or rules prescribed 
him, to settle his thoughts upon due objects, to 
bend his inclinations into a right frame, to con- 
strain his affections within due bounds, to rectify 
his judgments of things, to ground his purposes 
upon honest reasons, and direct them unto lawful 
matters: it is needful that he should have this 
power of discerning whatever moveth or passeth 
within him, what he thinks upon, whither he in- 
clines, how he judgeth, whence he is affected, 

202 Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 

seem, wherefore he doth resolve; without this power he 
XL ' could not be a moral agent, not able to perform 
any duty, not properly subject to any law, not 
liable to render an account of his doings : did he 
not perceive his own thoughts, how could he dispel 
them, when they are bad or vain? might he not 
observe his own inclinations, how could he strive 
to restrain them or to reform them, when they 
draw to unlawful practices? were he not sensible 
of his affections, how could he endeavour to reduce 
or compose them, when they become exorbitant or 
tumultuous? were he not conscious of his own 
opinions, how could he weigh and examine them? 
how could he conform his actions to them, or prac- 
tise according to the dictates of his conscience ? It 
is therefore plainly needful that man should be 
endued with this power, for that without it he can 
neither perform the duty required of him, nor en- 
joy the benefits he is capacified and designed for: 
our Maker therefore hath conferred it upon us, our 
duty consists in its right use, our advantage ariseth 
from the constant and careful exercise of this ex- 
cellent faculty: constant and careful, I say: con- 
stant, for observation implies so much ; for, if ever 
we shut our eyes or turn our heads aside, what we 
look to may be gone; much therefore will pass 
away undiscerncd and unobserved by us, especially 
such quick and fleeting things as are the interior 
motions of our soul will escape; wherefore a con- 
tinual vigilancy is requisite to a keeper of the 
heart : it muNt also be careful ; as the keeper of a 
thing so nimble and slippery must not sleep, so he 
must not slumber; he must not be oscitant, but 
very intent upon his charge; superficial glances 

Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 203 

upon the outward face, as it were, of the soul, will seem. 

not suffice : to observe, is with earnest care to look '— 

through the matter, to discern whatever lurketh 
therein, to pierce into the very depth and bottom 
of it, to spy through every nook and corner there- 
in ; otherwise it is but slightly viewed rather than 
truly observed : especially so subtle, so intricate, so 
obscure a thing as a man's heart is, requireth an 
extraordinary application of mind in observing it 
with judgment and fruit. 

This is then our duty, recommended by the 
Wise Man: to be continually, with extreme dili- 
gence, looking inward upon ourselves, observing 
what thoughts spring up within us; what imagina- 
tions find most welcome harbour in our breasts; 
what objects most affect us with delight or displea- 
sure ; (what it is that we love and readily embrace ; 
what we distaste and presently reject;) what preju- 
dices do possess our minds; wherefore we propose 
to ourselves such undertakings; conversing with 
ourselves, and, as it were, discoursing in this 
manner: What is it that I think upon? are my 
thoughts serious, seasonable, and pure? Whither 
do I propend? are my inclinations compliant to 
God's law and good reason? What judgments do 
I make of things? are my apprehensions clear, 
solid, sure, built upon no corrupt prejudice ? What 
doth most easily stir me, and how is my heart 
moved? are my affections calm, and orderly, and 
well placed? What plots do I contrive, what pro- 
jects am I driving on? are my designs good, are 
my intentions upright and sincere? Let me tho- 
roughly inquire into these points, let me be fully 
satisfied in them: thus should we continually be 

204 Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 

serm. doing. The holy scripture doth often bid us to 

! judge ourselves; to examine our works; to search 

and try; to weigh, to heed, to watch over our 
i Cor. xi. W ays : If, saith St Paul, we would judge [discern, 
Gal. vi. 4 . or distinguish*) ourselves, we should not be judged; 
that is, we should avoid those miscarriages which 
Lam. iii. bring the divine judgments upon us : and, Let us, 
saith the prophet Jeremy, search and try our ways, 
p s . xxxix. and turn unto the Lord; and, / said, I will take 
Prov.iv.26. heed to my ways, saith the Psalmist ; and, Ponder 
the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be esta- 
blished, is the Wise Man's advice. Search our 
ways, and ponder our paths ; this implies, that we 
first do examine and weigh our hearts, for there 
our ways begin, thence is motion derived to our 
feet ; and to our hands also : all our actions depend 
as effects of them, all do receive their moral quality 
thence: whatever in our doings is good or bad, 
Mark vii. " EawOev etcwopeveTcu, Doth, as our Lord expresses it, 
issue from within us; our actions are but streams, 
sweet or bitter, clear or foul, according to the tinc- 
ture they receive at those inward sources of good 
or evil inclinations, of true or false judgments, of 
pure or corrupt intention: there consequently we 
are principally obliged to exercise the scrutiny and 
trial required of us. 

Socrates is reported 5 to have much admired 
that verse in Homer, 

"O, tti rot eV fieyapoicri ko.k6v r ayadop re rervKrai , 

affirming, that in it the sum of all wisdom is 

a Ei eavrovs hieKplvojxev. — 1 Cor. xi. 31. 

b Aul. Gell. xiv. 6. [ — Quem (versum Homeri) Socrates prse 
omnibus semper rebus sibi esse cordi dicobat.J 
c [Od. iv. 392.] 


Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 205 

comprised; the sense and drift thereof being this, seem. 

as he took it : Seek and study what good or bad is ' 

at home, within thy house ; see how all goes in thy 
breast; employ thy chief inquiry upon the affairs of 
thy soul ; there confining thy curiosity and care. 

Such is the duty ; and the practice thereof is of 
huge profit and use, bringing many great benefits 
and advantages with it; the neglect of it is attend- 
ed with many grievous inconveniences and mis- 
chiefs: and for persuading to the one, dissuading 
from the other, I shall propound some of them, 
such as are most obvious, and offer themselves to 
my meditation. 

The most general and most immediate advan- 
tage arising hence is this, that, by such a constant 
and careful inspection, or study upon our hearts, 
we may arrive to a competent knowledge of, and a 
true acquaintance with ourselves, (a most useful 
knowledge, a most beneficial acquaintance,) neither 
of them being otherwise attainable. The heart, as Jer.xvii. 9. 
you know the Prophet says, is deceitful above all 
things; and who, adds he, can know it? "Who can 
know it? None, it seems, but God that made it, 
and the man that hath it : he that hath it must, I 
say, be able competently to know it: even in re- 
gard to him the question may intimate some diffi- 
culty, but it doth not denote an absolute impossi- 
bility. Hard it may be for us to know the heart, 
by reason of its deceitfulness ; but the sliest impos- 
ture, if narrowly looked into, may be detected : it 
is a very subtle and abstruse, a very various and 
mutable thing; the multiplicity of objects it doth 
converse with, the divers alterations it is subject 
to from bodily temper, custom, company, example, 

206 Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 

serm. other unaccountable causes; especially its proneness 

- to comply with, and to suit its judgments of things 

unto present circumstances without, and present 
appetites within, do render it such; wherefore it is 
not, indeed, easy to know it ; but yet possible it is ; 
for under severe penalties we are obliged not to be 
deceived by it, or, which is all one, not to suffer it 
i Cor. m. to be deceived : Let no man, saith St Paul, deceive 


Lukexxi. himself: See that ye be not deceived, saith our 
Deut. xi. Saviour : Take heed, saith Moses, to yourselves, 
that your heart be not deceived. Such precepts 
there are many, obliging us to know our hearts, 
and to discover the fallacies put on them, or upon 
us by them ; carrying with them directions how to 
compass it ; that is, by looking about us, and taking 
heed, by careful circumspection and caution. It is 
therefore a feasible thing to avoid being imposed 
upon, and well to understand ourselves: but as 
other abstruse pieces of knowledge, so this espe- 
cially cannot be attained without industrious appli- 
cations of our mind, and constant observations, to 
find the corners wherein the deceit lurks; we must 
pursue its secret windings and intrigues ; we must 
trace it step by step, as hunters do wild beasts, into 
the utmost recesses of its first desires and most 
deeply radicated prejudices ; we must do as David 
did, when he strove to free himself from distrust 
p s . lxxvii. and impatience in his straits : I communed with my 
own heart, saith he, and my spirit made diligent 
search: by which practice he found, as he further 
acquaints us, that it was his infirmity, which moved 
him to doubt of God's mercy and benignity to- 
ward him. Cicero, having somewhere commended 
philosophy as the most excellent gift by Heaven 

Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 207 

bestowed upon man, assigns this reason: Because seem. 
it teaches us, as all other things, so especially this of XL " 
all most difficult thing, to know ourselves*. But 
he, with his favour, doth seem to promise for his 
friend more than she is able to perform; the main 
part of this knowledge doth lie beyond the reach 
of any particular method; the empiric seems to 
have more to do here than the doctor. Philosophy 
may perhaps afford us some plausible notions con- 
cerning the nature of our soul, its state, its power, 
its manners of acting; it may prescribe some wide 
directions about proceeding in the discovery of our- 
selves; but the particular knowledge (and therein 
the chief difficulty lieth) of ourselves, how our souls 
stand inclined and disposed, that only our particular 
earnest study and assiduous observation can yield 
unto us ; and it is an inestimable advantage to ob- 
tain it. All men are very curious and inquisitive 
after knowledge; the being endued therewith pass- 
eth for a goodly ornament, a rich possession, a 
matter of great satisfaction, and much use : men are 
commonly ashamed of nothing so much as igno- 
rance; but if any knowledge meriteth esteem for 
its worth and usefulness, this, next to that con- 
cerning Almighty God, may surely best pretend 
thereto; if any ignorance deserveth blame, this 
certainly is most liable thereto: to be studious in 
contemplating natural effects, and the causes whence 
they proceed; to be versed in the writings and 
stories of other men's doings; to be pragmatical 
observers of what is said or done without us, (that 

d Hsec enim una nos cum cseteras res omnes, turn, quod est 
difficillimum, docuit, ut nosmet ipsos nosceremus. — Cic. de Leg. 
I. [22, 58.] 

208 Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 

serm. which perchance may little concern, little profit us 
--^— ^ to know,) and in the mean while to be strangers at 
home, to overlook what passeth in our own breasts, 
to be ignorant of our most near and proper con- 
cernments, is a folly, if any, to be derided, or 
rather greatly to be pitied, as the source of many 
great inconveniences to us. For it is from igno- 
rance of ourselves that we mistake ourselves for 
other persons than we really are ; and accordingly 
we behave ourselves toward ourselves with great 
indecency and injustice; we assume and attribute 
to ourselves that which doth not anywise belong 
unto us, or become us : as put case, we are ignorant 
of the persons we converse with, as to their quality, 
their merit, their humour; we shall be apt to mis- 
call and mistake them ; to misbehave ourselves in 
our demeanour toward them; to yield them more 
or less respect than befits them; to cross them 
rudely, or unhandsomely to humour them : in like 
manner, if we be strangers to our hearts, shall we 
carry ourselves toward our own selves; we shall 
hence, like men in a phrensy, take ourselves for 
extraordinary people, rich, and noble, and mighty, 
when indeed, our condition being duly estimated, 
Rev.iii.17. we are wretchedly mean and beggarly. We do 
frequently hug ourselves, (or rather shadows in 
our room,) admiring ourselves for qualities not 
really being in us; applauding ourselves for actions 
nothing worth, such as proceed from ill principles, 
and aim at bad ends; whenas, did we introvert 
our thoughts, and regard what we find in our 
hearts, by what inclinations we are moved, upon 
what grounds we proceed, we should be ashamed, 
and see cause rather to bemoan than to bless 

Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 209 

ourselves : descending into ourselves 6 , we might s ^l M ' 

perchance discern, that most of our gallant per- 

formances (such as, not considering our hearts, we 
presume them to be) are derived from self-love 
or pride ; from desire of honour, or love of gain ; 
from fear of damage or discredit in the world, 
rather than out of love, reverence, and gratitude 
toward God, of charity, compassion, and good-will 
toward our brethren, of sober regard to our own 
true welfare and happiness; which are the only 
commendable principles and grounds of action. St 
Luke telleth us of certain men, Who persuaded Luke xvm. 
themselves that they were righteous, and despised 9 ' 
others; upon occasion of whom our Saviour dic- 
tated the parable of the Pharisee and Publican. 
Whence, think we, came that fond confidence in 
themselves, and proud contempt of others? From 
ignorance surely of themselves, or from not observ- 
ing those bad dispositions, those wrong opinions, 
those corrupt fountains within, from whence their 
supposed righteous deeds did flow f If any man,,4. 
saith St Paul, giving an account of such presump- 
tions, thinks himself to be something, when he is 
nothing, eavTov (ppevairaTa, he cheats himself in his 
mind; but let every man examine his work, and 
then he shall have rejoicing in himself alone, eh 
kavTov fjiouov, (or privately with himself;) some, he 
implieth, do impose upon and delude themselves, 
imagining themselves somebodies ; (endued forsooth 
with admirable qualities, or to have achieved very 

e Ut nemo in sese tentat descendere ; nemo. — 

[Pers. Sat. iv. 23.] 
Paarov eavrov anarav, kcu o'leardai eivai rt, ovdev ovra, vtto rfjs 
Kevrjs dogrjs (^va-aifxevov. — Greg. Naz. [Orat. xxxvi. Opp. Tom. I. 
p. 635 a.] 

B. S. VOL. III. 14 

210 Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 

serm. worthy deeds;) whenas, if they would inquire into 

—2-^ themselves, they should find no such matter; that 

themselves were no such men, and their works no 
such wonders : but if, saith he, a man doth, SoKiudQw 
eavrod to epyov, explore and examine what he 
doeth, and in result thereof doth clearly perceive, 
that he acteth upon good reasons, and with honest 
intentions, then may he, indeed, enjoy a solid 
interior satisfaction, (a true /cai^/ua, or exultation 
of mind,) whatever others, not acquainted with 
those inward springs of his motion, do please to 
judge of him and his proceedings. No man, indeed, 
can truly value himself, or well approve of his own 
doings, so as to find any perfect comfort in himself, 
or in them, who doth not by studying himself dis- 
cover whence and why he acts : one may be a flat- 
terer, but cannot be a true friend to himself, who 
doth not thoroughly acquaint himself with his own 
inward state, who doth not frequently consult and 
converse with himself: a friend to himself, I said; 
and to be so is one of the greatest benefits that 
human life can enjoy; that which will most sweeten 
and solace our life to us: friendship with others 
(with persons honest and intelligent) is a great 
accommodation, helping much to allay the troubles, 
and ease the burdens of life; but friendship with 
ourselves is much more necessary to our wellbeing ; 
for we have continual opportunities and obliga- 
tions to converse with ourselves ; we do ever need 
assistance, advice, and comfort at home 8 : and as 

8 Quia exul 

Se quoque fugit? — 

[ITor. Carm. n. 16. 20.] 
Autos (reavTw xp<? o-v/u/3ouXo), kui ru Ge<5. — Grog Naz. [Ep. XXXIII. 
Opp. Tom. ii. p. 30 o.J 

Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 211 

commonly it is long acquaintance and familiar in- serm. 

tercourse together, which doth conciliate one man to ' — 

another, begetting mutual dearness and confidence, 
so it is toward one's self as no man can be a 
friend to a mere stranger, or to one whose temper, 
whose humour, whose designs he is ignorant of; so 
cannot he be a friend to himself, if he be unac- 
quainted with his own disposition and meaning 11 ; 
he cannot in such a case rely upon his own advice 
or aid when need is, but will suspect and distrust 
himself; he cannot be pleasant company to himself, 
but shall be ready to cross and fall out with him- 
self; he cannot administer consolation to his own 
griefs and distresses; his privacy will become a 
desertion, his retirement a mere solitude. But 
passing over this general advantage, I shall with 
some more minuteness of distinction consider divers 
particular advantages accruing from the practice of 
this duty, together with the opposite inconveni- 
ences, which are consequent upon the neglect 

i The constant and careful observation of our 
hearts will serve to prevent immoderate self-love 
and self-conceit; to render us sober and modest in 
our opinions concerning, and in our affections to- 
ward ourselves; qualifying us to comply with the 
apostolical precept, Mr) inrepippovelv Trap o Se'i (ppo-Rom.xii.3. 
velv, that is, not to overween, or overvalue our- 
selves, and our own things : for he that, by serious 
inspection upon his own heart, shall discern how 

'AXX' evioi, rov 'ibtov /Slav, cos drepirecrTaTOV Oeafia, TrpocriSelv 01/% 
viropevovcriv, ovcf dvaicXacrai top Xoyiupov, cos <f>cos e<p eavrovs Kai 
napiayayeiv dXX' ij ^v^q yepovcra kcikcov iravrobcmcov, km cppirrovaa 
(cm (pofiovpevr) ra evSov, eKirrjda 8vpa£e, &C. — Plut. de Curios. Opp. 
Tom. 11. p. 916. Ed. Steph. 


212 Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 

serm. many fond, impure, and ugly thoughts do swarm 
XL ' within him ; how averse his inclinations are from 
good, and how prone to evil; how much his affec- 
tions are misplaced and distempered, (while he 
vehemently delights in the possession, and impo- 
tently frets for the want of trifles, having small 
content in the fruition, and but slender displeasure 
for the absence of the greatest goods ; while empty 
hopes exalt him, and idle fears deject him; while 
other various passions, like so many tempests, drive 
and toss him all about;) who shall observe, how 
clouds of darkness, error, and doubt do hover upon 
the face of his soul ; so that he quickly taketh up 
opinions, and soon layeth them down, and often 
turneth from one mistake unto another; how un- 
settled his resolutions are, especially in the pursu- 
ance of the best goods, and what corrupt mixtures 
cleave to his best purposes ; who taketh notice how 
backward he is unto, and how cold in, devotions 
toward God ; how little sensible of his goodness, or 
fearful of his displeasure, or zealous for his honour, 
or careful of performing his duty toward him ; how 
little also it is that he desireth or delighteth in the 
good, that he pitieth and grieveth at the evil of 
his neighbour; how sluggish also and remiss he is 
in the pursuance of his own best affairs and highest 
concernments ; he that doth, I say, frequently with 
heedfulness regard these imperfections and obli- 
quities in his own heart, how can he be ravished 
with self-love ? How can he be much taken with 
himself ? Can any man dote upon such deformity, 
admire such weakness and naughtiness? No surely : 
that men are so amorous of themselves, so haughty 
and arrogant in their conceits, doth constantly 

Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 213 

arise from not reflecting on their own hearts; not serm. 

beholding themselves wistly enough in that mirror; — 

not considering, according to just representation 
there, how little lovely or worthy they are : if they 
did practise that, they would see reason, and 
thence become inclinable, rather to despise, to 
loathe, to pity themselves. 

2 Upon that advantage is consequent, that 
this practice will dispose us with equanimity and 
patience to bear all crosses and grievances be- 
falling us 1 ; so producing not only an excellent 
virtue, but a considerable solace to us; for the 
being conscious of so much unworthiness, which 
observation of our heart will necessarily dis- 
cover, will not only justify the providence, (so 
removing all just cause of complaint,) but will 
commend the benignity of God unto us, (so admi- 
nistering good matter of thanks.) It will prompt 
us heartily to confess with those in Ezra, that our Ezraix.13. 
punishments are less than our deservings; to join 
in acknowledgment with the Psalmist, that, God Pa. cm. 10. 
hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded 
us according to our iniquities; to say with Jeremy, 
It is of the Lord's mercy that we are not consumed, Lam. m 
because his compassions fail not; with Jacob, / am Gen. xxxii. 
less than any of thy mercies. 

3 Particularly, this practice will fence us against 
immoderate displeasure occasionable by men's hard 
opinions, or harsh censures passed on us : for he, 
that by inquiry into himself perceives so many de- 
fects in himself, will not so easily nor so greatly be 
offended, if some of them (or some like to them) 

' Leniter, ex merito quidquid patiare, ferendum est. — 

Ovid. Her. Ep. v. [7.J 

214 Keep thij Heart with all Diligence. 

berm. be objected to him; since he finds himself truly 
XL ' liable to many more, and greater. Epictetus's" ad- 
vice is, when you are told that any man speaks ill 
of you, that you should not apologize, but answer 
only, that he was ignorant of many other faults of 
yours, or he would not only have mentioned those. 
To be disposed, without dissembling, or affectation, 
to follow his counsel, would argue a man very intelli- 
gent of himself, and well prepared to endure hap- 
pily and handsomely encounters of this kind, which 
every man shall be sure to meet with. None in- 
deed can so contentedly brook reproach, or blame, 
as he that, by intimate acquaintance with his own 
heart, doth know the censure passed on him to be 
in effect mild and favourable; as finding himself 
a witness of more faults, than any adversary can 
accuse him of; as being a stricter examiner and 
severer judge of himself, than the most envious 
eye or disaffected mind can be. It is also some 
comfort, that, if censures be very outrageous, a man 
by knowledge of himself (by knowing his own dis- 
positions, if his person be disfigured by a very ill 
character; by knowing his own purposes, if his 
actions be grievously aspersed) is certain they are 
such; that he can be as well a faithful witness, and 
just judge for himself, as against himself. 

4 Likewise this practice will defend us, as 
from the discomforts of harsh censure, so from 
the mistakes and miscarriages to which the more 
favourable opinions of men, or their flattering 

['Eav rls aoi a.Trayyei\j], on 6 beiva <re Ka<S>s \eyei, firj a7roXo- 
yoii 7rp6s ra Xex&Vra - aXX anoKpivov, fiiori, 'Hyvdei yap ra aWa to. 

irpoo-ovTa fini kcikci, tirtl ovk av ravra p.6va i\tyev. Enchir. cap. 

xxxin. § 9. J 

Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 215 

expressions, (those luscious poisons,) may expose seem. 

i XL - 
us — 

Nihil est, quod credere de se 
Non possit, quum laudatur™. 

It is not only true of great men, but even of all 
men: the common nature of men disposeth them 
to be credulous when they are commended, or 
receive any signification of esteem from others: 
every ear is tickled with this fflio-Tov aKoua/ma n , this 
sweet music of applause : but we are not to rely 
upon others' imperfect and ill-grounded judgment, 
so much as upon our own more certain knowledge 
concerning ourselves : 

Ne cui de te plus quam tibi credas . 

Take no man's word before thine own sense, in 
what concerns thine own case and character, is an 
advice deserving our regard and practice : for that 
a man in questions of this kind is able to be a 
skilful and indifferent umpire between himself and 
others; that he is neither elevated nor depressed 
in mind by external weights, but keepeth himself 
equally poised in a just consistence by his own 
well-informed conscience; that neither his heart is 
exasperated with the bitterest gall of reproach, nor 
his head intoxicated with the sweetest wine of flat- 
tery, is an invaluable convenience of life ; or rather, 
it is a virtue arguing a most strong and healthful 
constitution of soul. How great a levity of mind, 
how great a vanity is it, saith a good Father, setting 

1 Index ipse sui se totum explorat ad unguem, 

Quid proceres, vanique ferat quid opinio vulgi, 

Securus. — [Auson. Idyll, xvi. 3. J 
m [Juv. Sat. iv. 70.] n [Xcn. Mem. n. 1. 31.] 

[Hor. Ep. i. 16, 19.] 

216 Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 

seum. aside a man's own conscience, to follow other men's 
-- ' -'... opinion, (and even that feigned and forged,) to be 
snatched- away by the wind of false praise, to rejoice 
in being circumvented, and to receive being mocked 
for a benefit*! From being thus abused, this prac- 
tice alone can secure us : if we know ourselves well, 
we cannot so easily be deluded by the mistakes of 
others concerning us, on either hand. 

5 Likewise, further upon the same score, this 
practice will conduce to qualify our opinions, and 
moderate our passions toward others ; so that with- 
out intemperate anger, or bitterness, we may bear 
the faults, errors, and infirmities of our brethren; 
that we shall be benign in our carriage, and gentle 
in our censures even toward them who do not behave 
themselves so well and wisely as they should do. 
Gai. vi. i. St Paul thus admonisheth the Galatians : Brethren, 
if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are 
spiritual (the more spiritual, whether in truth, or 
in our own esteem, the more especially are we 
obliged hereto) restore such an one in the spirit of 
meekness, considering thyself, lest thou may be also 
tempted: gkottwv aeavrov, looking upon, or spying 
into thyself; such considering ourselves, taking no- 
tice of our own infirmity within, perceiving how 
subject we are to the impressions of temptation, 
and that hence it may be our own case to fall and 
falter, if occasion concur with our weakness q ; dis- 
cerning this, I say, as it will be a reason obliging, 

p Quce hsec tanta levitas est animi, quae tanta vanitas, relicta 
propria conscientia, alienam opinionem sequi ; et quidem fictam 
atque simulatam; rapi vento falsse laudationis, gaudere ad circum- 
vcntionem suam, et illusioncm pro beneficio aucipore? — Hior. (vol 
Paulinus) ad Celant. [Ep. cix. Opp. Tom. iv. p ii. col. 816.] 

q M. Ant. xi. § 18. 

Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 217 
so it may be an instrument conducing to a mitiga- serm 


tion of spirit toward those, whom we see overtaken 
with mistake, or overborne by frailty. Why dost Matt.vii.2. 
thou see a mote in thy brothers eye, but dost not con- 
sider the beam in thine own eye? is our Saviour's 
question. Why a man should do so, there cannot, 
as he implies, any good reason be assigned; it is 
a very unreasonable and inexcusable miscarriage: 
but whence a man doeth so is obvious and plain ; 
it is, because he curiously pries into other men's 
doings, and carelessly neglecteth the observation 
of his own heart. Did we reflect our sight inwards, 
we should be more apt to mark our own faults, 
and less ready to discover those of others ; or, how- 
ever, we should be more gently affected in regard 
to them: for he that knows himself a beggarly 
wretch, will he reproach poverty to another? he 
that consulting the glass doth find himself ill-fa- 
voured, will he upbraid another for want of grace 
or beauty? he that perceives that the dart will 
rebound, and thereby wound himself, will he not 
be careful of flinging it? will a man be forward in 
pronouncing a heavy sentence against another, 
who considers himself by plain consequence in- 
volved in the condemnation thereof? Should a 
man do so, he doth at least render himself unca- 
pable of apology or excuse: so we are told by 
St Paul: Every censurer (71-as 6 Kpivwv) is, saith he, Rom. u. 1. 
inexcusable; for that in arraigning another he con- 
demns himself: guilty he is of inexcusable folly, or 
impudence ; of folly and blindness, if he see not ; of 
extreme impudence, if, seeing his own obnoxious- 
ness, he will not abstain from judging others for 
that, of which himself is guilty in the same kind, or 

i Sam. xii. 

218 Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 

seem, equivalently in some other. You know how David 
XL ' was caught by Nathan, and unwarily adjudged 
himself to death : and so may every man expose 
himself, that is rigorous in censure toward others, 
without reflecting upon himself, and considering 
his own heart; wherein he shall find so much 
ground and matter of being angry with, and judg- 
ing himself 1 If we will be fierce and keen, it is 
reason we should be so first, and chiefly there, 
where our greatest enemies do abide, whence most 
mischief ariseth to us ; where there is fittest matter, 
and justest cause of passion : thus is this practice a 
most proper and effectual remedy for those baneful 
vices of pride and peevishness in ourselves, of ma- 
lignity and fury toward others. But further, 

6 The observation of our heart yieldeth great 
advantage, in being very conducible to render men 
truly wise and prudent, in those things especially, 
which most nearly concern them.; giving them to 
see before them, and to understand what they do, 
and to proceed with security; as contrarily the 
neglect thereof rendereth men unadvised and un- 
certain in their doings. A main point of prudence 
consisteth in suiting a man's undertakings to his 
powers and capacities; in not attempting things 
surpassing his ability or fitness; and in not declin- 
ing such useful or beneficial attempts as he may 
well compass. Some are over bold and rash in set- 
ting upon things beyond their strength to accom- 
plish, or skill to manage; whence commonly with 

r Si volumus requi omnium rerum judices esse, hoc priroum 
nobis suadeamus, neminem nostrum esse sine culpa. — Sen. de Ir. 
[n. 27 5.J 

~S,vyyvd>fj.r)V ecprj dibovat nam. rots (tfiapravovo'i, rr\fjv iavrov. Cato 

Maj. Plut. Opp. Tom. v. p C24. Ed. Steph. 

Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 219 

shame and sorrow they are defeated in their enter- serm. 
prises; others are over backward and diffident, so — — - — 
as not to adventure upon what they may with 
good advantage, or perhaps ought to perform; 
thence depriving themselves of the benefits they 
might obtain, or omitting the duties which they 
are obliged to; both which inconveniences usually 
do proceed from the not looking into and studying 
the heart; for the most and greatest impediments 
of action do lie there ; being grounded upon inward 
indispositions, or disagreeableness of men's temper, 
capacity, inclination to the matters, to which they 
apply themselves. A tender foot will be galled 
and lamed, if you set it going in rugged paths ; a 
weak head will turn, if you place it high, or upon 
the brink of a precipice ; a soft spirit cannot well 
comport with boisterous employment ; he that 
naturally affects calm and quiet must not hope to 
come off well, if he engage himself upon affairs 
exposed to abundance of care and tumult ; nor will 
he, if he be well studied this way, and rightly un- 
derstand himself, adventure thereupon. It was as 
well according to wisdom as modesty that David 
could say, My heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes Ps. cxxxi. 
lofty, neither do I exercise myself in great matters, 
or in things too high for me. In every undertaking 
two things occur to be considered: what of diffi- 
culty is found therein, and what of temptation; 
whether it can he done, and whether it should be 
done. It is a folly to spend our care and pains 
upon that which is too hard for us to effect; and it 
is worse than so to adventure upon that which 
most probably will bring us into sin, and hurt 
our souls; only the study of ourselves, weighing 

220 Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 

SEim. our power, and trying our temper, will prevent 

'— both : lie that doeth this may commonly foresee 

what, the case being put, he shall do ; that if such 
a temptation doth assault him in such circum- 
stances, his inclinations will be apt to comply 
therewith, and he shall scarce be able lo resist; 
that, for instance, he shall wax haughty in a state 
of dignity, become luxurious in abundance of 
wealth, be distracted with care in a busy employ- 
ment; and therefore he will not be so forward to 
engage himself upon such occasions, danger and 
mischief being so vividly prerepresented to his 
sight. But he that pondereth not his own heart is 
ready to presume, that, be the business what it 
will, he shall come off well; and so unadvisedly 
rusheth into the snare : he assumes unwieldy bur- 
dens upon his shoulders, which he soon feeleth 
sorely to oppress and pain him; which he can nei- 
ther bear with ease, nor put off with convenience. 
When, for instance, the prophet told Hazael what 
cruelties and rapines should, when he got power 
and opportunity, be committed by him; you see 
2 Kings h ow he was startled at the report: Am I a doqf 

viii. 13. # . , 

saith he; that is, Can I be so vile and base? Yes, 
he might himself have perceived, that he should in 
likelihood be so ; the probability of his doing as the 
Prophet said, had been no great news to him, if he 
had observed his own inclinations. Good Agur on 
the other side did better understand himself, when he 
Prov. xxx. prayed, Give me neither poverty nor riches, but feed 
me with food convenient for me. He was conscious 
of natural infirmity, and therefore afraid of being 
in a condition that might prevail upon it ; of great 
wealth, lest it should tempt him to forgetfulness 

Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 221 
and neglect of God; (Lest, saith he, i" be full, serm 


and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord?) of ex- 
treme want, lest it should put him upon unjust, dis- 9 . rov ' xxx ' 
honest, and impious courses to maintain his life, 
(Lest, adds he, I be poor, and steal, and take the 
name of my God in vain.) He saw, by looking 
into himself, that self-love (the root of pride and 
injustice) was potent in him, and formidable, when 
occasion should favour it, and, therefore, by implor- 
ing divine aid, he strove to decline the advantages 
and occasions of it. It was good counsel which 
Xenophon tells us the oracle gave Croesus, consult- 
ing about the success of his attempt against Cyrus, 
SauT-of yiyvuxJKwv evoa'ifxwv, Kpolcre, irepaaets, Know- 
ing thyself thou shalt pass on happily 5 , (in the 
course of thy life and undertakings.) Had he, con- 
sidering his own ability, in relation to the dubious 
event of things, (that as he could not promise him- 
self good fortune, so he did not know how he 
should comport with bad; being not sure that he 
should overcome either his enemies or himself) — 
thus, I say, had he complied with the oracle's ad- 
vice, he might have escaped the loss and sorrow 
which befell him. So is it with us : if we know not 
the burden of our vessel, we shall either put more 
sail to it than it can bear, or less than will suffice 
to carry it on; it will be overladen, or want fit bal- 
last. If we are ignorant of our capacities, we shall 
either soar too high with a dangerous confidence, 
or grovel below in a sluggish listlessness : studying 
ourselves will help to preserve us in a middle pitch, 
will direct us in a moderate course, wherein we 
may proceed with sufficient courage and alacrity; 

9 De Cyri Instit. vn. [2, 20.J 

222 Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 

seem, with a prudent foresight, or at least with a com- 
— fortable hope of good success. 

7 Near to that lies another considerable bene- 
fit, attending this practice, which is, that it will 
help to render us expedite in our resolutions, and 
constant to them; consistent with ourselves, and 
uniform in our proceedings ; whence will arise both 
great convenience to ourselves, and satisfaction to 
others with whom we deal or converse : as on the 
contrary side, from the neglect thereof, we shall be- 
come slow in deliberation, doubtful in resolution, 
and unstable in performance. When any occasion 
of acting is presented, we shall be ready to close 
with what is agreeable to our inclination, and not 
repugnant to our judgment, if, by due study and 
experience, we are acquainted with them : that ac- 
quaintance is a certain preparation to a speedy 
choice; and we shall upon the same grounds con- 
stantly adhere to our choice, standing upon so firm 
a base ; and so shall neither discompose ourselves, 
nor disappoint others by our irresolution and incon- 
stancy- But he that skills not his own heart, first 
will dwell long upon consultation, (not feeling per- 
fectly whither his inward bias doth draw him ;) and 
when he seems, upon some superficial reason, to 
have determined on one side, some discordance to 
his own inclination, or some latent prejudice soon 
discovering itself, he wavers, and at length falls off; 
finding that he hath promised to himself, or others, 
what he is unable or unwilling to perform ; so, like 
James i. 8. St James's two-souled man, He is unsteady in all 
his ways. The hard student of himself is like a 
man that hath his estate in numerate, in ready 
cash, all in his hand, or at his command; he can 

Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 223 

presently tell what lie can do, and satisfy those he serm. 

hath to do with. Go to him, you may know where — 

to have him, even just where you left him, or 
where he uses to be; you may expect a sudden 
despatch, and you may rely upon his word ; for he 
knows beforehand what he doeth, and shall con- 
tinue to like ; why he determines so or so ; and 
cannot be removed from his well-grounded purpose, 
(that which is by the philosopher* termed, Ratio 
non dissidens, nee hcesitans, A reason that doth not 
strive, nor stick, he is master of.) But he that neg- 
lects this practice, what he hath any title to, lieth 
dispersed, and laid up in corners unknown to him- 
self, so that himself cannot come readily by it ; you 
can hardly tell where to find him ; you must wait 
his resolution; and when it is told you, you cannot 
be assured thereof, nor anywise satisfied, that he 
will stick to his word, or his mind : he knows not 
thoroughly what he would have himself; can you 
then hope for a certain answer from him? He 
cannot well trust himself; can you then rely upon 
him? He will find himself mistaken and crossed 
in his own choice; can you expect less? Quid est 
sapientiaf semper idem velle, atque idem nolle": 
Constancy to a man's self is, saith he, the very 
being of wisdom : however, nothing more beseems 
a man, more commends him to society, and suits 
him to business, is more pleasant and grateful to 
those who have to do with him, than such a clear, 
uniform, steady disposition of mind ; such a smooth 
and even tenor of action ; nothing renders conver- 
sation and commerce more unpleasant, than a fickle 

4 Sen. de Vit. B. cap. viii. [4.] 
u Id. Ep. xx. [4.] 

224 Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 

seem, lubricity of humour, and unaccountable deformity 
— - — : — of behaviour : that study therefore is very useful, 
which conduceth to breed and maintain the one, 
and which removeth the other. 

8 Again, another valuable convenience of this 
practice is, that it disposeth unto and preserveth a 
man's mind in a sober temper, agreeable to his 
state, and to the circumstances into which he is 
cast; such a temper I mean as that which the Wise 
Eccies.vii. M an prescribes, where he saith, In the day of 
prosperity be joyful; but in the day of adversity, 
consider. It is apt to beget either a comfortable 
joy, or a wholesome regret, according as the inte- 
rior condition of his soul (that wherein the chief 
cause of the one or of the other affection is ground- 
ed) doth seasonably and justly require. To be 
transported with mirth and jollity in a state of 
grievous misery, when reason itself demands sorrow 
and pity; to be sad and dumpish when all things 
flow prosperously; either of those will seem mar- 
vellously incongruous, and argue a kind of stu- 
pidity in him that so behaves himself. Now there 
is not in truth any calamity so disastrous, as that 
which befalls us within ourselves, no prosperity 
so worthily delightful as the good proceeding 
of affairs in our souls: it is the most excellent 
pleasure a man is capable of, that which doth 
spring from the being conscious, that his mind 
3 John i. 2. doth evo^ouaGai, as St John speaks, that is, go well 
forward in a happy course, that good thoughts 
freely do spring up, that good inclinations are 
strong and prevalent, that good habits of mind 
wax vigorous, that the love of goodness is im- 
proved, that he, generally, doth thrive in health 

Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 225 

and strength spiritual. No increase of treasure seem. 
can affect the covetous, no rising in power and dig- 

nity can satisfy the ambitious, no enjoyment of 
sensual entertainments can ravish the voluptuous 
man with so true or great content, as the sensible 
proficiency in virtuous and pious dispositions of 
soul, growing richer unto God, and stronger in the Lute xii. 
hopes of his favour, do produce in him that doth 
affect it, and can perceive it: it is a joy in all 
respects incomparable; only wise and reasonable, 
pure and innocent, firm and durable. As, on the 
other hand, if it be so that we discern, that within 
our hearts bad thoughts do swarm and multiply, 
bad appetites do sway, bad customs do encroach 
upon us ; that desire of and delight in good things 
decay ; that we become more dark, dull, unsettled 
in our spiritual apprehensions, more feeble and lan- 
guid in our prosecutions of virtue, it is a great 
benefit to have a timely remorse prompting and 
urging us to endeavour a deliverance from so un- 
happy a condition: but no man can well either 
enjoy that comfortable delight, or be affected with 
this profitable sorrow, who doth not with a careful 
attention view his heart, and descry how things 
go there. This consideration mindeth of a further 
and more general advantage accruing from this 
practice ; which is this, that 

9 A serious inspection into our hearts doth 
much avail toward the reformation of our hearts 
and lives; curing the distempers and correcting 
the vices of them. For to the curing any disease 
it is requisite to know the complexion and temper 
of the patient, and the part affected, and the next 
causes thereof. As the most grievous of bodily 
b. s. vol. in. 15 

226 Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 

serm. diseases are seated in, or do proceed from, the en- 

1— trails; but not all of them from the same one of them; 

and the same disease depends upon the distemper 
sometimes of one, sometimes of another among 
Matt, xv. them : so do all vices (as our Saviour expressly 
teacheth) issue from the heart, or interior man; 
some from one, some from another part or region 
thereof; and the same from different parts : some- 
times natural temper, sometimes false opinion, 
sometimes evil custom is the root of the same kind 
of disease ; and it is expedient we should know dis- 
tinctly which of them in particular cases is the 
root, that accordingly we may understand what 
method of cure to use, whence to fetch the remedy, 
where to apply it; for unskilfulness in these points 
may frustrate our endeavours of amendment. If 
the mischief proceed from natural inclination, we 
must not hope ever utterly to subdue it, nor to free 
ourselves suddenly from the incursions thereof; nor 
is bare reasoning a proper weapon against it, it 
being grounded in the original constitution of the 
soul, either immediately, or as linked to the body ; 
which by no operation of our mind can be soon 
altered; for, No wisdom, as Seneca speaketh well, 
can remove the natural vices of body or mind; 
what is infixed and inbred may be allayed by art, 
not subdued*. Reason alone and directly is not 
able to grapple therewith ; she will break her teeth 
upon so tough and knotty a matter : it will weary 
her arms in vain to swim against the rapid current 
of natural propension ; the violent eruptions thereof 

x Nulla enim sapientia naturalia corporis aut animi vitia ponun- 
tur: quicquid infixum et ingenitum est, lcnitur arte, non vincitur. 
— Sen. Ep. xi. [2.] 

Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 227 

may, indeed, somewhat be restrained; occasions of serm. 

complying therewith may often be declined ; it — 

may in time, and by degrees, be weakened by 
subtracting the food and incentives thereof: but 
especially devils of this kind must, as our Saviour 
instructeth us, be ejected by humble, earnest, and 
frequent invocation of divine assistance; without 
which other means commonly will prove ineffectual. 
But if the vice proceed only from ill habit, or the 
prevalence of bad custom, we are to oppose a 
contrary custom thereto y , presently disusing that 
practice, and acting otherwise, so shall we easily 
remove and extirpate it : if neither of these causes 
are discernible, we may presume our indisposition 
is derived from ill opinion; and that consequently 
our best course of redressing it, is to examine the 
reason of the thing; to get clear and right appre- 
hensions concerning it. For example, if we observe 
ourselves apt to be frequently transported with 
anger, let us look into our hearts, and take notice 
whether the root of that distemper be a choleric 
complexion, or whether it arise from an habitual 
indulgence to ourselves of being moved upon slight 
causes, whereby a peevish humour is grown upon 
us; or whether it cometh from vain conceits of 
ourselves, as of persons unto whom extraordinary 
deference and observance is due, so that no man 
should presume to dissent from our opinion, or 
contravene our desire ; and as we find, so we must 
respectively proceed in repressing the causes of this 
disease; praying, if it arise from nature, to the 
Omnipotent, (the only Lord and Commander of 
nature,) that he would by his grace free us from 

y Ti fydelpti to Wot ; ivavriov e6os. — Epict. [Diss. I. 17.] 

15 — 2 

228 Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 

serm. that inflammable temper, and enable us to govern 

— our passion ; withal shunning occasions of being 

provoked ; abstaining from such diet, such business, 
such company, as naturally do kindle or ferment 
that humour: if the malady grow from custom, 
using ourselves to bear patiently harsh words, 
unkind dealings, cross accidents; if our opinion 
dispose us thereto, reasoning ourselves into mode- 
rate conceits about ourselves, considering the rea- 
sons that may acquit or excuse others to us upon 
occasion of offence: using all, or some of these 
means, or the like, such as the observation of our 
heart shall discover to us to be most proper and 
suitable to the nature, or to the cause of this dis- 
temper infesting us, we shall wholly, or in good 
part, rid ourselves from it. Again, (to adjoin an- 
other example, the matter seeming to deserve our 
heed,) suppose we experience ourselves inclining to 
covetousness, eager in getting, solicitous in keeping, 
unwilling to part with our goods upon reasonable 
occasion, (for the maintenance of our convenient 
respect in the world, or for relieving the needs of 
our brethren, or for serving the public, or for 
promoting the interests of piety and virtue ;) let us 
then look, and see whether this ariseth from a 
natural straitness, hardness, suspiciousness, or diffi- 
dence of heart, (some such dispositions may be 
observed in men,) or from being, by our education, 
or manner of life, inured to such a love of getting, 
or of sparing, or of tenacity ; or whether it springs 
from conceits about the worth or the necessity of 
wealth, (that, without being furnished with heaps 
of treasure, we shall come into danger of want or 
disgrace ; we shall not be able to maintain our life, 

Keep thy Heart with all Diligence^ 229 

or uphold our credit; we shall not enjoy any thing, serm. 

or be any bodies among men;) let us, I say, by — 

examining our hearts, find out from which of these 
springs this sordid disposition floweth, and accord- 
ingly strive to correct it; either praying to Al- 
mighty God, that he would enlarge and supple our 
heart, if it be natural to us ; or addicting ourselves 
upon reasonable occasion to liberality and free 
expense, if custom hath therein prevailed upon us ; 
or if vain surmises have seduced us, rectifying 
our judgments ; as by other good discourses, proper 
against that brutish vice, so especially by con- 
sidering, that God is most good and bountiful, and 
tender of our being overwhelmed with need ; that 
he continually watcheth over us, so that he cannot 
but see, and will regard what we want; and that 
he faithfully hath promised, if we endeavour to 
please him, and use a moderate diligence in honest 
ways to maintain ourselves, that he will yield his 
blessing, and never will leave us destitute. So in 
all cases we may proceed discreetly in the cure of 
our spiritual distempers, and in withstanding the 
temptations to sin that assault us, if we do but 
search into our hearts, and learn thence, whence 
they flow, and by what they are nourished. 

10 This practice, further, doth particularly 
serve to regulate our devotions, and performances 
more immediately spiritual; by shewing us what 
we need to pray for, what we are obliged to give 
thanks for, what it becomes us to confess and 
deprecate : for want thereof we shall be apt not 
only to neglect, but indecently to confound, yea 
miserably to pervert these duties; to confound 
them by praying for what is already given us, is 

230 Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 

serm. put into our hand, or lies within our reach; for 
- '— which therefore we are not to pray, but to render 

thanks; also by giving thanks formally for that, 
which perhaps we are far from possessing, and do 
most want; so, I say, we shall be apt to confound 
and misplace, to render vain and chimerical in a 
sort our spiritual addresses, as wanting due ground 
and object; yea to pervert them by asking for 
Pa. lxxiii. things really prejudicial and hurtful to us, (in the 
Heb. xii. circumstances we stand,) and thanking God for 
"" what in anger and judgment he dispenseth to us, 

(so, indeed, are many appearing goods, grateful to 
present sense,) as also deprecating things most 
beneficial and useful, and healthful to our souls; 
neglecting to return thanks for what God dispos- 
eth in mercy, (so are many things at present bitter 
and unsavoury to our carnal appetite and fancy;) 
thus from ignorance of ourselves, and what we 
truly need, are we apt to pervert our devotions, not 
only defeating ourselves of the advantages they 
might yield us, but (if God be not more gracious 
than to hearken to us, and to grant our wishes 2 ) 
bringing lamentable mischief on ourselves. Many 
examples of these confusions and perverse misap- 
plications of devotion both scripture affords, and 
experience will suggest, if we observe them. You 
Lukexvm. know the comparison in the Gospel between the 
devotions of the Pharisee and the Publican, with 
the different acceptance they found: the one was 
prompt enough to give thanks for the graces he 
had received, and the advantages he conceived that 
he had in his qualities, and in his performances 

z Erertere domos totas optantibus ipsis 

Dii faciles, &c. — Juv. Sat. x. [7.] 

Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 231 

above others; but not having duly studied him- serm. 

self, did not perceive, that he was rather bound — 

to ask pardon for the pride of his heart, and the 
vanity that adhered to his performances, which 
rendered his thanksgiving very improper and un- 
seasonable. The other being conscious of his de- 
merits and wants, with a manner suitable to his 
condition, in words few, but full and fit, did con- 
fess his unworthiness, (which to do did best beseem 
him,) and implored mercy, (which was the thing 
he chiefly needed;) so was his discreet prayer bet- 
ter accepted, than the other's impertinent thanks- 
giving : I tell you, saith our Saviour, this man went Luke xyiii - 
down to his house justified rather than the other. 
The two sons of Zebedee, conceiting that our Lord 
would shortly become a great prince, and affecting 
to become favourites then, did confidently sue for 
the next place of dignity about him ; our Lord re- 
pressed their fond ambition by downright telling 
them first, that thev knew not what they asked : Matt - xx - 
then by demanding of them whether they were 
able to undergo the trials they should meet with ; 
implying what they should rather have requested, 
that they more needed humility and patience, than 
pomp and pleasure: and it was the same two 
persons, whose intemperate zeal he otherwhere 

checked with an, Ovk oi^are olov TrvevfxaTos, Ye know Luke ix. 

not of what spirit ye are: and no wonder, if they, 
who knew not what they were, did ask they knew 
not what ; that, being ignorant of their own hearts, 
they should endite absurd petitions; that in such a 
case they should desire things not only incongruous 
and inconvenient, but dangerous and destructive 
to themselves. For to make a right distinction of 

232 Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 

serm. these duties; to be able discreetly and pertinently, 
— - — ■ — if I may so speak, to converse with God, it is 
requisite to look into our hearts, and from them to 
take fit matter, due measure, right season of re- 
quest, and of acknowledgment respectively; things 
commonly not being as they appear to our present 
sense, or to our gross conceit, in themselves, or in 
their degree, good or bad; but according to the 
disposition of our hearts, and the effects they work 
upon them. That is not good which pleaseth our 
sense and fancy; nor that bad which disgusts 
them; but that is good, which rendereth our heart 
wiser and better, which correcteth our inclinations, 
composeth our affections, informeth our judgments 
rightly, and purifieth our intentions; that is bad, 
which hath contrary effects within us. "We, it is 
likely, should pray with greatest seriousness and 
earnestness for the removal of those infirmities, for 
ease from those afflictions; which we see the holy 
James i. i. Apostles (being better instructed in things, being 
2 Cor. xii. more acquainted with themselves) did rejoice, did 
Gai. vi. i 4 . glory in, did give thanks for ; as finding the whole- 
' some operation they had upon their hearts; that 
by them their virtues were exercised and improved, 
their faith tried, their patience increased, their 
hope confirmed; that, to use the Apostle's words, 
Heb. xii. They did in the sequel return the peaceful fruit of 
righteousness to those who were exercisedby them: but 
leaving this point, though deserving perhaps further 
consideration, I proceed, and say further, that 

1 1 The continual visitation of our inward parts 
doth not only yield much advantage, (as in some 
measure hath been shewed,) at the long run, by in- 
fluence at the spring-head upon the principles and 

Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 233 

causes of action, but doth immediately conduce to seem. 

good practice, preventing and stifling in the very 

birth many sinful and vain practices : that so many 
indiscreet and impertinent, so many irregular and 
unsavoury, so manyunjust and uncharitable speeches 
do issue from our mouths, it is especially because 
we are not then employed upon this duty ; are not 
watching over our hearts, and observing those in- 
ward fountains, (levity and wantonness of thought, 
precipitancy and disorder of passion) from whence 
they overflow: were we intent there we should 
perhaps endeavour to stop the current, and contain 
these inward bad motions from venting themselves. 
The like we may say concerning many unwarrant- 
able actions, into which we inconsiderately plunge 
ourselves, not heeding whence they spring : did we 
regard, that such actions were arising from am- 
bitious, covetous, froward dispositions, or from cer- 
tain ill-grounded prejudices lurking in our minds, 
we should often surely forbear them : but while we 
keep none, or bad sentinels; while in the custody 
of our hearts we sleep, or are drowsy; while we 
neglect to examine and weigh our actions what 
they are, and whence they come, they (although 
very bad and hurtful) do steal by us, and pass as 
friends, and we hear no more of them, but in their 
woful consequences. What efficacy the considera- 
tion of God's omnipresent eye, beholding all our 
doings, hath, and how all wise men do press it as a 
powerful means to contain us from bad action, you 
cannot but well know; as, likewise, that some of 
them, in order to the same purpose, direct us to 
conceive ourselves always under the inspection of 
some person especially venerable for his worth, or 

234 Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 

serm. for his relation to us, whom we should be afraid or 
ashamed to displease 11 : and surely were the faith 
concerning God's presence, or the fancy concerning 
the presence of a Cato, or a Laslius, strong enough, 
they could not but have great effect : however, did 
we but live, even in our own presence, under the 
eye of our own judgment and conscience; regarding 
not only the matter and body, but the reason and 
ground, that is the soul, of our actings ; even that 
would do much; the love and reverence of our- 
selves would somewhat check and control us; we 
should fear to offend, we should be ashamed to 
vilify even ourselves by fond or foul proceedings; 
it would, in the philosopher's esteem, supply the 
room of any other keeper or monitor, if we could 
thus keep ourselves; If, saith he, we have so far 
profited, as to have got a reverence of ourselves, we 
may then well let go a tutor, or pedagogue* 

12 This practice doth much conduce to the 
knowledge of human nature and the general dispo- 
sitions of mankind, which is an excellent and most 
useful part of wisdom : for the principal inclinations 
and first motions of the soul are like in all men ; 
whence he that by diligent study of himself hath 
observed them in his own soul, may thence collect 
them to be in others ; he hath at least a great ad- 
vantage of easily tracing them, of soon descrying 
them, of clearly perceiving them in those he con- 
verseth with ; the which knowledge is of great use, 
as directing us how to accommodate ourselves in 
our behaviour and dealing with others. 

a Vid. Sen. Epp. xi. [6.] xxv. [5.] 
Quum jam profeceris tan turn, ut sit tibi otiam tui revercntia, 
licebit dimittas prcdagogum. — Id. Ep. xxv. [5. J 

Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 235 

No man, indeed, can be a good instructor or serm. 

adviser in moral affairs, who hath not attained this — 

skill, and doth not well understand the nature of 
man : his precepts and rules will certainly be falla- 
cious, or misapplied without it : this is that which 
rendered the dictates of the Stoics and other such 
philosophers so extravagant and unpracticable, be- 
cause they framed them not according to the real 
nature of man, such as is existent in the world, 
but according to an idea formed in their own 

Some caution, indeed, is in this matter to be 
used, that those motions of soul, which proceed 
from particular temper and complexion, from su- 
pervenient principles or habits, may be distin- 
guished from those which are natural and common 
unto all : which distinction to make is of great use 
and benefit, in order to the governing, restraining, 
or correcting them. 

If there be any in us, which are not observable 
in any other men ; or in other men, which are not 
in us, those do not arise from common nature, 
but from the particular disposition of one or other 

13 I add lastly, that universally this practice 
is requisite and necessary for the well governing 
of our heart. Politicians inculcate much, that to 
the well governing of a people, squaring fit laws 
for it, and keeping it in good order, the nature 
and humour of that people should be chiefly heeded 
and well understood ; for that the grave Romans, 
and light Greeks; the soft Persians, and stout 
Germans ; the subtle Africans, and gross Scy- 
thians, would not be well managed in the same 

236 Keep thy Heart with all Diligence. 

seem, manner. So to govern any man's heart, (since the 

■ — hearts of men, as their faces, and as their voices, 

differ according to diversities of complexion, of 
age, of education, of custom and manner of living,) 
it conduceth to know how it is disposed from any 
of those or the like causes But how we are to 
guide and govern our hearts, and what particular 
influence this practice hath thereupon, I reserve 
for other meditations; when we shall endeavour 
more distinctly to shew how we may apply our 
thoughts to due objects ; how curb and correct our 
inclinations; how order our passions; how rectify 
our opinions; how purify our intentions: now I 
conclude with the good Psalmist's requests to God 
p s . ixxxvi. Almighty : Teach us thy way, Lord; unite our 
. 34 ; hearts to fear thy name. Give us understanding, 
and we shall keep thy law; yea, we shall observe it 
cxxxix. 23, with our whole heart. Search us, God, and know 
our hearts; try us, and know our thoughts; see if 
there be any wicked way in us, and lead us in the 
way everlasting. Amen. 

c Vid. Greg. Naz. ['AXX' wvnep rols acoficuriv ov ttjv avrfjv 
<f>apixaKeiav re kcu rpofprjv npocrCpepoVTai, ctXXoi Se aWrjv r) (V€Ktovvtcs, 
rj Kap.vovT€S, ovtco Ka\ ras \jsv)(as 8ia<p6pa> Xoycu Kai dyooyrj 6epa- 
irtvovrai — Orat. ii. Opp. Tom. i. p. 26 d.] 





Psalm XC. 12. 

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our 
hearts unto wisdom. 

THIS Psalm is upon several peculiar accounts s li- 
very remarkable ; for its antiquity, in which it 

perhaps doth not yield to any parcel of Scripture ; 
for the eminency of its author, Moses, the man of 
God, the greatest of the ancient prophets, (most in 
favour, and, as it were, most intimate with God :) 
it is also remarkable for the form and matter 
thereof, both affording much useful instruction. In 
it we have a great prince, the governor of a numer- 
ous people, sequestering his mind from the manage- 
ment of public affairs to private meditations ; from 
beholding the present outward appearances, to con- 
sidering the real nature and secret causes of things; 
in the midst of all the splendour and pomp, of all 
the stir and tumult about him, he observes the 
frailty of human condition, he discerns the provi- 
dence of God justly ordering all ; this he does not 
only in way of wise consideration, but of serious 
devotion, moulding his observations into pious 
acknowledgments and earnest prayers to God: 
thus while he casts one eye upon earth viewing the 
occurrences there, lifting up the other to heaven, 
there seeing God's all-governing hand, thence 
seeking his gracious favour and mercy. Thus doth 

238 The Consideration of our latter End. 

seem, here that great and good man teach us all (more 
J^ L Jl^ particularly men of high estate and much business) 
to find opportunities of withdrawing their thoughts 
from those things which commonly amuse them, 
(the cares, the glories, the pleasures of this world,) 
and fixing them upon matters more improvable to 
devotion ; the transitoriness of their condition, and 
their subjection to God's just providence; joining 
also to these meditations suitable acts of Religion, 
due acknowledgments to God, and humble prayers. 
This was his practice among the greatest encum- 
brances that any man could have ; and it should 
also be ours. Of those his devotions, addressed to 
God, the words are part, which I have chosen for 
the subject of my meditation and present discourse ; 
concerning the meaning of which I shall first touch 
somewhat ; then propound that observable in them, 
which I design to insist upon. 

The Prophet David hath in the 39th Psalm a 
prayer very near in words, and of kin, it seems, in 
Ps. xxxix. sense to this here ; Lord, prays he, make me to 
4 ' know my end, and the measure of my days, what 

it is, that I may know how frail I am : concerning 
the drift of which place, as well as of this here, it 
were obvious to conceive, that both these Prophets 
do request of God, that he would discover to them 
the definite term of their life, (which by his decree 
he had fixed, or however by his universal prescience 
he did discern ; concerning which we have these 
Job xiv. 5. words in Job, Seeing mans days are determined, 
the number of his months are with thee, thou hast ap- 
pointed his bounds, that he cannot pass;) we might, 
I say, at first hearing, be apt to imagine, that their 
prayer unto God is, (for the comfort of their mind 

The Consideration of our latter End. 239 
burdened with afflictions, or for their better direction seem. 

-\TT T 

in the management of their remaining time of life,) — 

that God would reveal unto them the determinate 
length of their life. But this sense, which the words 
seem so naturally to hold forth, is by many of the 
Fathers rejected, for that the knowledge of our 
lives' determinate measure is not a fit matter of 
prayer to God ; that being a secret reserved by 
God to himself, which to inquire into savours of 
presumptuous curiosity : the universal validity of 
which reason I will not debate; but shall defer so 
much to their judgment, as to suppose, that the 
numbering of our days (according to their sense) 
doth here only imply a confused indefinite computa- 
tion of our days' number, or the length of our life ; 
such as, upon which it may appear, that necessarily 
our life cannot be long, (not, according to the ac- 
count mentioned in this Psalm, the same with that 
of Solon in Herodotus a , above 70 or 80 years, es- 
pecially as to purposes of health, strength, content ;) 
will probably, by reason of various accidents, to 
which it is exposed, be much shorter, (7 or 10 years, 
according to a moderate esteem;) may possibly, 
from surprises undiscoverable, be very near to its 
period; by few instants removed from death, (a 
year, a month, a day, it may be somewhat less.) 
This I shall allow to be the arithmetic that Moses 
here desires to learn; whence it will follow, that 
teaching (or making to know, so it is in the 
Hebrew) doth import here (as it doth otherwhere 
frequently in Scripture) God's affording the grace to 
know practically, or with serious regard to consider 

a ['Es yap i^bofir)KOVTa trea ovpov rrjs £6r)s avdpdira irpori&rifiJ.. 
I. 32.] 

240 The Consideration of our latter End. 

serm. this state and measure of our life, (for in specula- 
XLL tion no man can be ignorant of human life's brevity 
and uncertainly b ; but most men are so negligent 
and stupid, as not to regard it sufficiently, not to 
employ this knowledge to any good purpose.) This 
interpretation I choose, being in itself plausible 
enough, and countenanced by so good authority; 
yet the former might well enough (by good conse- 
quence, if not so immediately) serve my design ; or 
be a ground able to support the discourse I intend 
to build upon the words ; the subject whereof 
briefly will be this, that the consideration of our 
lives' certain and necessary brevity and frailty, is a 
mean proper, and apt to dispose us toward the wise 
conduct of our remaining life; to which purpose 
such a consideration seems alike available, as the 
knowledge of its punctual or definite measure ; or 
more than it, upon the same or greater reasons. 

As for the latter clause, That we may apply our 
hearts to wisdom; it is according to the Hebrew, 
And toe shall bring the heart to wisdom; implying, 
the application of our hearts to wisdom to be con- 
sequent upon the skill and practice (bestowed by 
God) of thus computing our days. As for wisdom, 
that may denote either sapience, a habit of knowing 
what is true ; or prudence, a disposition of choosing 
what is good : we may here understand both, espe- 
cially the latter; for, as Tully saith of philosophy, 

Ov yap iaTL (ppevas e^ovros dudparrov dyvoeiv, on 6 avdpunros £<i)6v 
i<TTi dmjTOV, 0118' on ycyovfc els to dnodavdv. — Plut. ad Apoll. Opp. 
Tom. I. p. 202. Ed. Stoph. 

Quis est tam stultus, quamvis sit adolesccns, cui sit exploratum, 
se ad vesperum esse victurum? — Cie. do Sen. [cap. xix. 67.] 

At ea (natura) quidem dedit usuram vita), tanquam pecuniae, 
nulla praestituta die. — Tusc. Quaest. 1. [39, 93. J 

The Consideration of our latter End. 241 

Omnis summa philosophic ad beate vivendum re- seem. 

ferlur ; The sum or whole of philosophy refers to — 

living happily; so all divine wisdom doth respect 
good practice. The word also comprehends all the 
consequences and adjuncts of such wisdom; (for so 
commonly such words are wont by way of me- 
tonymy to denote, together with the things pri- 
marily signified, all that naturally flows from, or 
that usually are conjoined with them :) in brief, (to 
cease from more explaining that which is in itself 
conspicuous enough,) I so understand the text, as 
if the Prophet had thus expressed himself : Since, 
O Lord, all things are in thy hand and sovereign 
disposal ; since it appears that man's life is so short 
and frail, so vexatious and miserable, so exposed to 
the just effects of thy displeasure; we humbly be- 
seech thee, so to instruct us by thy wisdom, so to 
dispose us by thy grace, that we may effectually 
know, that we may seriously consider the brevity 
and uncertainity of our lives' durance; whence we 
may be induced to understand, regard, and choose 
those things which good reason dictates best for us ; 
which, according to true wisdom, it most concerns 
us to know and perform. From which sense of the 
words we might infer many useful documents*; and 
draw matter of much wholesome discourse; but 

c De Fin. n. [27, 86.J 

* From whence we might infer these documents. 

1 That the effectual knowledge of things, otherwise 
notorious and palpable, doth much depend upon the gra- 
cious instruction and influence of God upon our minds ; 
that there is a certain secret passage between the head and 
the heart, which except he open, they will not have a due 
B. S. VOL. III. 16 

242 The Consideration of our latter End. 

serm. passing over all the rest, I shall only insist upon 

— that one point, which I before intimated, viz. that 

the serious consideration of the shortness and frailty 
of our life is a proper instrument conducible to 
the bringing our hearts to wisdom, to the making 
us to discern, attend unto, embrace, and prose- 
cute such things as are truly best for us ; that it 
is available to the prudent conduct and manage- 
ment of our life; the truth of which proposition is 
grounded upon the divine Prophet's opinion: he 
apprehended such a knowledge or consideration to 
be a profitable means of inducing his heart to wis- 
dom ; wherefore he prays God to grant it him in 
order to that end, supposing that effect would pro- 
ceed from this cause. And that it is so in way of 
reasonable influence, I shall endeavour to shew by 
some following reasons. 

intercourse with each other ; if God do not teach us, our 
notions will not kindly affect us ; for what the Prophet here 
did otherwise well understand in theory, and which no man 
hardly can be ignorant of, he yet prays God (as the Psalm- 
ist and other of God's servants do in like cases frequently) 
to make known unto him. 

2 That the ready means of obtaining such effectual 
knowledge is the having recourse to God by prayer for it ; 
as the Prophet here doth, not relying upon his own reason 
and meditation, but imploring God's direction and further- 
ance. Which observations (grounded upon the practice and 
example of so great and good a man) would yield matter of 
wholesome and useful discourse ; but my intention is at pre- 
sent to insist upon a third observation, for the sake of which, 
and to engage my thoughts upon meditation whereon, I did 
choose this text ; and it is, that the serious consideration of 
the shortness and frailty of our life, &c. MS. 

The Consideration of our latter End. 243 

I. The serious consideration of our lives' frailty seem. 

and shortness will confer to our right valuation (or — 

esteem) of things, and consequently to our well 
placing, and our duly moderating our cares, affec- 
tions, and endeavours about them d . For as we value 
things, so are we used to affect them, to spend our 
thought upon them, to be earnest in pursuance or 
avoiding of them. There be two sorts of things we 
converse about ; good and bad ; the former, according 
to the degree of their appearance so to us, (that is, 
according to our estimation of them,) we naturally 
love, delight in, desire, and pursue; the other like- 
wise, in proportion to our opinion concerning them, 
we do more or less loathe and shun. Our actions 
therefore being all thus directed and grounded, to 
esteem things aright both in kind and degree, (T»;V 
dfyav eKdaTM airolilovai, To assign every thing its due 
price; as Epictetus 6 speaks; Quanti quidque sitjudi- 
care, To judge what each thing is worth; as Seneca 1 ,) 
is in order the first, in degree a main part of wisdom; 
and as so is frequently by wise men commended. 
Now among qualities that commend or vilify things 
unto us, duration and certainty have a chief place ; 
they often alone suffice to render things valuable or 
contemptible. Why is gold more precious than glass 
or crystal? Why prefer we a ruby before a rose or 
a gilliflower ? It is not because those are more 
serviceable, more beautiful, more grateful to our 

d Love not the world ; for — the world passeth away, and the desire 
thereof. — 1 John ii. 15, 17. 

e Epict. [Diss. ii. 23, 23.J 

f Primum enim est, ut quanti quidque sit, judices; secundum, 
ut impetum ad ilia capias ordinatum temperatumque ; tertium, ut 
inter impetum tuum, actionemque conveniat, ut in omnibus istis 
tibi ipsi consentias. — Sen. Ep. lxxxix. [13.] 



244 The Consideration of our latter End. 

serm. senses, than these, (it is plainly otherwise;) but be- 
cause these are brittle and fading, those solid and 
permanent : these we cannot hope to retain the use 
or pleasure of long ; those we may promise ourselves 
to enjoy so long as we please. Whence, on the other 
side, is it, that we little fear or shun any thing, 
how painful, how offensive soever, being assured of 
its soon passing over, the biting of a flea, or the 
prick in letting blood ? The reason is evident ; and 
that in general nothing can on either hand be con- 
siderable (either to value or disesteem) which is of 
a short continuance. Upon this ground, therefore, 
let us tax the things concerning us, whether good 
or bad, relating to this life, or to our future state ; 
and first the good things relating to this life ; thence 
we shall be disposed to judge truly concerning 
them, what their just price is, how much of affec- 
tion, care, and endeavour they deserve to have ex- 
pended on them. In general, and in the lump con- 

i Cor. vii. cerning them all, St Paul tells us, that, To a^rj^a 
rod Koa/xov tovtov irupdyet, The shape or fashion (all 
that is apparent or sensible) in this present ivorld 
doth flit, and soon gives us the go-by: we gaze a 
while upon these things, as in transitu., or intra 
conspectum, as they pass by us s , and keep a while 
in sight; but they are presently gone from us, or 
we from them They are but like objects repre- 
sented in a glass ; which having viewed a while, we 
must shortly turn our backs, or shut our eyes upon 
them, then all vanishes, and disappears unto us. 

R [QvrjTa ra tcov 6vt)tu>v, Kai\ Trdvra rrnpep^erai tj/ias- 

ijv be firj, dXX tjpels avra rrapep)(6peda 

(Jr. Epifj. Antliol [Lui-ill. cxvm. Anthol. 
Ur. Ed. Jacobs. Tom. m. p. 53.] 


The Consideration of our latter End. 245 

Whence he well infers an indifferency of affection seem. 

toward them; a slackness in the enjoyment of 1~ 

them to be required of us ; a using this world, as i Cor. vii. 
if we used it not; a buying, as if we were not to 3 °' 3I ' 
possess; a weeping, as if we wept not; and a re- 
joicing, as if we rejoiced not; a kind of negligence 
and unconcernedness about these things, The world, i John ii. 

1 7 

saith St John, passeth away, and the desire thereof, 
J eiridvuia avrov : whatever seemeth most lovely and 
desirable in the world is very flitting; however, our 
desire and our enjoyment thereof must suddenly 
cease. Imagine a man therefore possessed of all 
worldly goods, armed with power, flourishing in 
credit, flowing with plenty, swimming in all delight, 
(such as were sometime Priamus, Polycrates, Croesus, 
Pompey ;) yet since he is withal supposed a man, 
and mortal, subject both to fortune and death, 
none of those things can he reasonably confide or 
much satisfy himself in; they may be violently 
divorced from him by fortune, they must naturally 
be loosed from him by death; the closest union 
here cannot last longer than till death do part us : 
wherefore no man upon such account can truly call, 
or (if he consider well) heartily esteem himself 
happy* ; A man cannot hence (as the most able judge Eccies. i. 3, 


* Therefore no man upon such accounts can truly call 
or heartily esteem himself happy : happy, that which all 
men have most impatiently desired to be, and philosophers' 1 
most busily have enquired what it is to be : Aristotle his 
management of the disquisition concerning that point is 
remarkable : he observing, that from the several inclinations 
of men did arise divers opinions concerning the nature of 

h Omnia auctoritas philosophise consistit in beata vita com- 
paranda. — Theophrastus apud Cic. de Fin. v. [29, 86. J 

246 The Consideration of our latter End. 

seem, and trusty voucher of these commodities doth pro- 
nounce) receive profit or content from any labour he 


happiness, and that every one would have it consist in what 
himself was most addicted to ; the political man in honour 
and power ; the studious man in contemplation and know- 
ledge ; the sensual man in fruition of pleasure ; the covetous 
man in gathering and possessing riches; the (^iXoVaAos- ) 
well-meaning and plausible man in the practice of virtue ; 
but withal taking notice, that according to the judgment of 
common sense all these conceits were liable to great excep- 
tions ; seeing other of the particulars were very subject to 
change (from the inconstancy both of fortune 1 and vulgar 
opinion), and that pleasure was too mean and bestial a thing 
to constitute the perfection of a man's state ; and that virtue 
and wisdom could not alone suffice to that purpose ; for if a 
virtuous man were oppressed with grievous diseases, wants, 
troubles, and disgraces, who could seriously esteem that man 
happy I he therefore chose to place it (and that it seems 
as wisely as a man could devise, who was resolved to place 
nothing somewhere) in the aggregation and confluence of all 
these ; in the substance of virtue, in the ornament of honour, 
the convenience of wealth and plenty amassed together in 
one subject ; but he might have considered, that all the 
objections against each particular opinion would combine in 
assaulting his ; that his composition did contain in it all the 
imperfection of its ingredients ; the baseness and slovenli- 
ness of pleasure ; the mutability of honour and wealth ; the 
liableness of virtue and wisdom to be deserted by the rest. 
Beside that this knot of good things can hardly be tied, at 
least never so fast but that it may easily be dissolved. Per- 
haps also there is some inconsistency in the parts which 
he compounds together : virtue always or most commonly 
being incompatible with great prosperity ; it hath envy and 
enmity to contest with, adversities to sustain, difficulties to 

To be fiiyiCTTov Ka\ koKXicttov eTrirptyai tv^tj, \uiv 7rA)7/ijUfXf? uv 
fir;. — [Ethic. I. 9. 6.J 

The Consideration of our latter End. 247 
taTceth (upon these transitory things) under the sun. sebm, 

Why then, let me inquire, do we so cumber our 

overcome : I may add, that no affluence of all imaginable goods 
can satiate the restless and fastidious nature ; the wandering 
and infinite desire of man's mind ; whence whatever else it 
doth enjoy, it will always want quiet and satisfaction, with- 
out which how can a man be deemed happy? He might 
therefore perchance have better resolved the question by 
taking away the subject thereof, admitting that happiness 
was only a name having nothing real answerable thereto ; 
that among these things there was not to be found any 

reXeiov, avrapKes, fiovifiov, jjltj eiifxeraftoXov dyadov, no good having 

those conditions of perfect, self-sufficient, durable, hardly 
changeable, (which conditions he ascribes to the thing, 
called happiness, enquired after), that, I say, such a good 
was a bare chimera, there being no such thing, nor any 
ground for it, to be met with in the nature of things with 
which he was acquainted; for that if life itself, the subject and 
foundation of all things belonging to man, be infirm and 
unstable, how can the appurtenances thereof, any structure 
reared thereupon, be capable of those privileges ? The phi- 
losopher would have his happy man, as he saith, no chame- 
leon, easily transformed from healthy to sick, from rich to 
needy, from honourable to contemptible, from joyful and 
contented to sad and dissatisfied. But with Juvenal k we 
may ask the question : 

Sed quee prseclara, et prospera tanti, 
Ut rebus lsetis par sit mensura malorum? 

What brave and prosperous state of man is this, wherein the 
measure of inconveniences does not exceed that of contents ? 
Where in this sea of human life could he find such a ship, 
tossed with no winds, free from all fluctuations? A man 
exempt 1 , if from present inconvenience, yet from suspicion 
and fear of many future ones, and that consequently could 

k [Sat. x. 97.] 

1 *E|a> fteXovs, beyond the reach of adverse fortune. 


248 The Consideration of our latter End. 
skbm. heads with care, so rack our hearts with passion, so 


- - waste our spirits with incessant toil about these 

transitory things ? Why do we so highly value, so 

with much reason please himself and rest fully satisfied in 
his condition? (since, In aequo est amissio rei et timor 
amittendse™ ; ''Tis all one to lose a thing and to be jealous of 
losing it) whom at least the consideration of death's (perhaps 
sudden) supervening to ravish him from his mass of pro- 
sperities will not disgust and discompose. Si amitti vita 
beata potest, beata esse non potest 11 , If a happy life may be 
lost, it cannot be happy, and what life is there, or what state 
of life, which cannot be lost? Solon's problem did much 
trouble the philosophers to resolve : since a man may not be 
called happy during life (for that he cannot be secure from 
falling into those ™x«' irpidfiiKai, partaking of Priam his lot, 
to be spoiled of all the comforts and conveniences of life), 
when can he be termed so? If at, or after death, then 
begins he to be happy, when he ceases to be, and that 
beatifies him, which destroys him (for all that those men 
knew or supposed) : in life man can have no steady or 
assured condition ; and therefore no happiness ; after death 
'tis too late ; he hath then no being able to support such a 
denomination : he hath been somewhat, may be said ; he is 
either happy or unhappy cannot be affirmed. What happi- 
ness therefore was, nor where situated, nor when possessed, 
could that otherwise clear sighted wise man discern (for want 
of better spectacles than nature or common experience did 
afford) : even his own discourse may assure us, that it is 
nowhere conversant among these transitory things : in this 
state of lapse from our integrity, this exile from God, this 
condemnation we lie under to a painful life and a certain 
death, no such thing is to be hoped for or aimed at : fools 
may dream of, but no wise man could ever find a paradise in 
this world : we cannot so easily evacuate God's sentence, or 
elude our fate. Why then do we so, &c. MS. 

m Sen. Ep. xcvin. n Apud Cic. alicubi. [De Fin. n, 27. SO.] 

The Consideration of our latter End. 249 

ardently desire, so eagerly pursue, so fondly delight serm. 

in, so impatiently want, or lose, so passionately — 

contend for and emulate one another in regard to 
these bubbles ; forfeiting and foregoing our home- 
bred most precious goods, tranquillity and repose, 
either of mind or body, for them? Why erect we 
such mighty fabrics of expectation and confidence 
upon such unsteady sands ? Why dress we up these 
our inns, as if they were our homes, and are as 
careful about a few nights' lodging here, as if we 
designed an everlasting abode ? we that are but 
Sojourners and 'pilgrims here, and have no fixed i Pet. a. 
habitation upon earth ; Who come forth like a flower, Heb. xiii. 
and are soon cut down; Flee like a shadow, and j 4 chron! s ' 
continue not; Are winds, passing away, and coming j*^^ ' 
not again; Who fade all like a leaf; Whose life is '> 2 - ... 
a vapour, appearing for a little time, and then 39- 
vanishing away; Whose days are a handbreadth, 14. 
and age is nothing; Whose days are consumed like p^'ch"^ / 
smoke, and years are spent as a tale; Who wither cui. 5 i s 9 ;' 
like the grass, upon which we feed, and crumble as xx * ix - s . ; 
the dust, of which we are compacted; (for thus the ciiL . *5- 
Scripture by apposite comparisons represents our 
condition ;) yet we build, like the men of Agrigen- 
tum, as if we were to dwell here for ever; and hoard 
up, as if we were to enjoy after many ages; and 
inquire, as if we would never have done knowing. 
The citizens of Croton, a town in Italy, had a man- 
ner, it is said, of inviting to feasts a year before the 
time, that the guests in appetite and garb might 
come well prepared to them. Do we not usually 
resemble them in this ridiculous solicitude and 

Commorandi enim natura deversorium nobis, non habitandi 
locum dedit. — Cic. de Son. [cap. xxm. 84. j 

250 The Consideration of our latter End. 

serm. curiosity; Spes inchoando longas v , commencing 
designs, driving on projects, which a longer time 

than our life would not suffice to accomplish ? How 
deeply do we concern ourselves in all that is said 
or done; when the morrow all will be done away 
and forgotten ; when (excepting what our duty to 
God and charity towards men requires of us, and 
that which concerns our future eternal state) what 
is done in the world, who gets or loses, which of 
the spokes in fortune's wheel is up, and which 
down, is of very little consequence to us! But 
the more to abstract our minds from, and temper 
our affections about these secular matters, let us 
examine particularly by this standard, whether the 
most valued things in this world deserve that esti- 
mate which they bear in the common market, or 
which popular opinion assigns them. 

i To begin then with that which takes chief 
place, which the world most dotes on, which seems 
most great and eminent among men ; secular state 
and grandeur, might and prowess, honour and 
reputation, favour and applause of men, all the 
objects of human pride and ambition : of this kind, 

i Pet. i. 74. St Peter thus pronounces, Uaaa do^a dvOpwirov, All 

the glory of man is as the flower of the grass ; the 
grass is dried up, and the flower thereof doth fall 
off; it is as the flower of the grass, how specious 
soever, yet the most fading and failing part thereof; 
the grass itself will soon wither, and the flower 
doth commonly fall off before that. "We cannot 
hold this flower of worldly glory beyond our short 
time of life ; and we may easily much sooner be 

p [Vitco summa brevis spcm nos vetat inchoare longani.] 

Hor. Cartn. 1. 4. 15. 

The Consideration of our latter End. 251 
deprived of it : many tempests of fortune may sebm. 

• i '-iii •• XLI. 

beat it down, many violent hands may crop it ; it 

is apt of itself to fade upon the stalk ; however the 
sun (the influence of age and time) will assuredly 
burn and dry it up, with our life that upholds it. 
Surely, saith the Psalmist, men of low degree are Pa. lxii. 9. 
vanity, and men of high degree are a lie : men of 
high degree ; the mighty princes, the famous cap- 
tains, the subtle statesmen, the grave senators ; 
they who turn and toss about the world at their 
pleasure ; who, in the Prophet's language, make i sa i. xiv. 
the earth tremble, and shake kingdoms : even l6, I7 ' 
these we may be bold to give them all the lie : 
they are a lie, (said he, who himself was none 
of the least considerable among them, and by 
experience well knew their condition, the greatest 
and most glorious man of his time, king David.) 
They are a lie ; that is, their state presents some- 
thing of brave and admirable to the eye of men; 
but it is only deceptio visus ; a show without a 
substance ; it doth but delude the careless specta- 
tors with false appearance ; it hath nothing under 
it solid or stable ; being laid in the balance, (the 
royal Prophet there subjoins; that is, being weighed 
in the scales of right judgment, being thoroughly 
considered,) it will prove lighter than vanity itself; 
it is less valuable than mere emptiness, and nothing 
itself. That saying sounds like an hyperbole ; but 
it may be true in a strict sense, seeing that the 
care and pains in maintaining it, the fear and 
jealousy of losing it, the envy, obloquy, and danger 
that surround it, the snares it hath in it, and 
temptations inclining men to be puffed up with 
pride, to be insolent and injurious, to be corrupted 

252 The Consideration of our latter End. 
seem, with pleasure, (with other bad concomitants there- 



of,) do more than countervail whatever either of 
imaginary worth or real convenience may be in it. 
Perhaps, could it, without much care, trouble, and 
hazard, continue for ever, or for a long time, it 
might be thought somewhat considerable : but 
since its duration is uncertain and short ; since 

p s . xiix. Man in honour abideth not, but is like the beasts 

ixxxii?6, 7. that perish ; that they who look so like gods, and 
are called so, and are worshipped as so, yet must 
die like men, like men, yea like sheep shall be laid 
in the grave; since, as it is said of the king of 

isai. xiv. Babylon in Isaiah, Their pomp must be brought 
down to the grave, and the noise of their viols ; the 
worm shall be spread under them, and the worm 
shall cover them; seeing that a moment of time 
shall extinguish all their lustre, and still all that 
tumult about them ; that they must be disrobed of 
their purple, and be clothed with corruption ; that 
their so spacious and splendid palaces must soon 
be exchanged for close darksome coffins ; that both 
their own breath, and the breath of them who now 
applaud them, must be stopped ; that they who 
now bow to them, may presently trample on them ; 
and they, who to-day trembled at their presence, 
may the morrow scornfully insult upon their me- 

isai. xiv. mory : Is this the man (will they say, as they did 
of that great king) who made the earth to tremble; 
that did shake kingdoms ; that made the world, as a 
wilderness, and destroyed the kingdoms thereof? 
Since this is the fate of the greatest and most 
glorious among men, what reason can there be to 
admire their condition, to prize such vain and 
shortlived pre-eminences ? For who can account it 


The Consideration of our latter End. 253 

a great happiness to be styled and respected as a seem. 

prince, to enjoy all the powers and prerogatives of —1 — 

highest dignity for a day or two ; then being 
obliged to descend into a sordid and despicable 
estate ? Who values the fortune of him that is 
brought forth upon the stage to act the part of a 
prince ; though he be attired there, and attended as 
such; hath all the garb and ceremony, the ensigns 
and appurtenances of majesty about him; speaks 
and behaves himself imperiously; is nattered and 
worshipped accordingly ; yet who in his heart doth 
adore this idol, doth admire this mockery of great- 
ness ? "Why not ? Because after an hour or two 
the play is over, and this man's reign is done. 
And what great difference is there between this 
and the greatest worldly state ? between Alexander 
in the history, and Alexander on the stage ? Are 
not (in the Psalmist's account) all our years spent Ps. xo. 9. 
as a tale that is told, or as a fable that is acted? 
This in comparison of that, what is it at mosC, but 
telling the same story, acting the same part a few 
times over ? What are a few years more than a 
few hours repeated not very often ? not so often 
as to make any considerable difference : so a great 
emperor q reflected ; Ti $ia(pepei 6 Tpir/nepos rod Tpi- 
yeprjviov ; What, said he, doth the age of an infant, 
dying within three days, differ from that of Nestor, 
who lived three ages of men ? since both shall be 
past and ended ; both then meet, and thereby 
become equal ; since, considering the immense time 
that runs on, and how little a part thereof any of 
us takes up, Juvenes et senes in cequo sumus r , We 

q M. Ant. iv. § 50. 

r [Omnes ad brevitatem scvi, si universo compares, et juvenes 
et senes in aequo sumus. — Sen. Ep. xcix.J 

254 The Consideration of our latter End. 

seem, are all alike young and old, as a drop and a pint 

— bottle in compare to the ocean are in a sort equal, 

that is, both altogether inconsiderable 8 Quid enim 
diu est, ubi finis est? saith St Austin 4 ; What can 
he long that shall be ended ? which coming to that 
pass is as if it never had been. Since then upon 
this account (upon worldly accounts I speak all 
this ; and excepting that dignity and power may 
be talents bestowed by God, or advantages to serve 
God, and promote the good of men ; excepting also 
the relation persons justly instated in them bear to 
God, as his deputies and ministers ; in which re- 
spects much reverence is due to their persons, 
much value to their places ; even the more, by 
how much less their present outward estate is con- 
siderable, and because at present they receive so 
slender a reward for all their cares and pains em- 
ployed in the discharge of their offices ; this I 
interpose to prevent mistake, lest our discourse 
should seem to disparage or detract from the rever- 
ence due to persons in eminent place. But since, 
under this caution) all worldly power and glory 
appear so little valuable, the consideration hereof 
may avail to moderate our affections about them, 
to quell all ambitious desires of them, and all vain 
complacencies in them. For why should we so 
eagerly seek and pursue such empty shadows, 
which if we catch, we in effect catch nothing; and 
whatever it is, doth presently slip out of our hands ? 
Why do we please ourselves in such evanid 
dreams? Is it not much better to rest quiet and 

s Mihi ne diuturnum quidom quidquam vidctur, in quo est ali- 
quid extremum. &c. — Cic. de Sen. [cap. xix. 69.] 
1 [Serm. cxxiv. Opp. Tom. v. col. 604 g.] 

The Consideration of our latter End. 255 

content in any station wherein God hath placed us, B ^¥' 

than to trouble ourselves and others in climbing 

higher to a precipice, where we can hardly stand 
upright, and whence we shall certainly tumble 
down into the grave? This consideration is also 
a remedy proper to remove all regret and envy 
grounded upon such regards. For why, though 
suppose men of small worth or virtue should 
nourish in honour and power, shall we repine 
thereat? Is it not as if one should envy to a 
butterfly its gaudy wings, to a tulip its beautiful 
colours, to the grass its pleasant verdure; that 
grass, to which in this Psalm we are compared; 
Which in the morning fiourisheth and groweth up;vs. xc . 6. 
in the evening is cut down and wither eth? I may 
say of this discourse with the philosopher", '\Iiu>tik.ov 
Mev, ofxwi $e dwTiKov fiot]9rina, It is a homely remedy, 
(there may be divers better ones,) yet hath its 
efficacy; for David himself made use thereof 
more than once : Be not, saith he, afraid, or Ps. xHx. 
troubled, when one is made rich, when the glory 
of his house is increased; for when he dieth, he 
shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not 
descend with him. I was, saith he again, envious Ps. lxxm. 
at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the i 9 ; Axvii. 
wicked ; but I went into the sanctuary, then under- l ' °" 
stood I their end : surely thou didst set them in slip- 
pery places — how are they brought into desolation 
as in a moment! Thus considering the lubricity 
and transitoriness of that prosperity, which foolish 
and wicked men enjoyed, did serve to cure that 
envious distemper which began to affect the good 
man's heart. 

u M. Ant. iv. § 50. 

256 The Consideration of our latter End. 

serm. 2 But let us descend from dignity and power 

- * - : - (that is, from names and shows) to somewhat seem- 
ing more real and substantial, to riches ; that great 
and general idol, the most devoutly adored that 
ever any hath been in the world ; which hath a 
temple almost in every house, an altar in every 
heart ; to the gaining of which most of the thoughts, 
most of the labours of men immediately tend ; in 
the possession of which men commonly deem the 
greatest happiness doth consist. But this consider- 
ation we discourse about will easily discover, that 
] cor. viii. even this, as all other idols, is Nothing in the world, 
4 ' nothing true and solid ; will, I say, justify that 

advice, and verify that assertion of the Wise Man ; 
Prov.xxiii. Labour not for riches ; Wilt thou set thy heart upon 
4 ' 5 ' that which is not f It, well applied, will pluck down 
the high places reared to this great idol of clay in 
men's hearts; will confute the common conceits 
and phrases", which so beatify wealth ; shewing that 
whoever dotes thereon is more truly and properly 
styled a miserable man, than a happy or blessed 
isai.x-iviii. one : for is he not indeed miserable, who makes 
lies his refuge, who confides in that which will 
deceive and disappoint him? The Prophet assures 
Hab. ii. 9. us so : Woe, saith the Prophet Habakkuk, woe he 
to him who coveteth an evil covetousness to his 
house : that he may set his nest on high, that he may 
be delivered from the power of evil ! Men, he 
implies, imagine by getting riches, they have 
secured and raised themselves above the reach 
of all mischief : but ye see it was in the Prophet's 
judgment a woful mistake. St Paul doth warn 
1 Tim. vi. men very emphatically, Not to hope e-n-l ttXovtov 


x "oXfiios, beatus, &c. pro divite. 

The Consideration of our latter End. 257 

d$t)\oTr)Ti, in the uncertainty, or obscurity of riches ; serm 
intimating, that to trust in them, is to trust in. 


darkness itself; in that wherein we can discern 
nothing ; in we know not what. They are, we 
cannot but observe, subject to an infinity of 
chances*, many of them obvious and notorious; 
more of them secret and unaccountable. They Prov.xxiii. 
make, the Wise Man tells us, themselves wings, s ' 
(they need, it seems, no help for that,) and fly 
away like as an eagle toward heaven, (quite out of 
sight, and beyond our reach, they of their own 
accord do swiftly fly away :) however, should they 
be disposed to stay with us, we must fly from 
them; were they inseparably affixed to this life, 
yet must they together with that be severed from 
us; as we came naked of them into this world, so jobi. 21. 
naked shall we return : As he came, saith the ' Tim- V1 " 
Preacher, so shall he go; and what profit (then) Ecdes. v. 
hath he that labour eth for the wind? From hence, 
that we must so soon part with riches, he infers 
them to be but wind; a thing not anywise to be 
fixed or settled; which it is vain to think we can 
appropriate or retain ; and vain therefore greedily 
to covet, or pursue: so the Psalmist also reasons 
it : Surely every man, saith he, walkeih in a vain p s . xxxix. 


* They are subject to an infinity of chances : to the mercy 
of all elements ; to sea and land ; winds, rocks, and quick- 
sands ; fire and weather ; rust and mildew ; worms and 
vermin ; to thieves and pirates ; enemies and plunderers ; 
perfidious negligent idle servants, and dishonest friends; 
prodigal children and needy kindred ; to the just providence 
of heaven ; to our own expensive vices and vain projects ; 
to the fraud and violence, the mistakes and mischances of 
men; in fine to many unaccountable accidents. MS. 

B. S. VOL. III. 1 7 

258 The Consideration of our latter End. 

serm. show; surely they are disquieted in vain; he heap- 
eth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather 
them. Men, in his account, that troubled them- 
selves in accumulating wealth, did but idly delude 
themselves, fancying to receive content from such 
things, which they must themselves soon be sepa- 
rated from; and leave at uncertainties, to be dis- 
posed of they know not how: that which in his 

Eccies. ii. wise son's esteem was sufficient to make a man 
' I9 ' hate all his labour under the sun: Because, saith 
he, I shall leave it to the man that shall be after 
me; and who knoweth whether he shall be a wise 
man or a fool ? Yet he shall have rule over all my 
labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have 
shewed myself wise under the sun: all, it seems, that 
we are so wise and so industrious about, that we 
so beat our heads about, and spend our spirits 
upon, is at most but gaudium hceredis, the joy of an 
heir, and that an uncertain one, (for your son, your 
kinsman, your friend, may, for all you can know, 
die before you, or soon after you ;) it is but a being 
at great pains and charges in tilling the land, 
and sowing and dressing it; whence we are sure 
not to reap any benefit to ourselves, and cannot 
know who shall do it y, The rich man, St James tells us, as the flower 
of the grass shall he pass away; for the sun is no 
sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth 
the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the 
grace of the fashion thereof 'perisheth; so also shall 

y Sed iidem elaborant in ois, quae sciunt nihil omne ad se 

Serit arbores, quce alteri sceculo proshtt, ut ait Statius noster, &p . 
— Cic. de Senect. [cap. vn. 24.] 

The Consideration of our latter End. 259 

the rich man fade in his ways. All the comfort seem. 
(we see by the Apostle's discourse) and the conve- 

nience, all the grace and ornament, that riches are 
supposed to yield, will certainly wither and decay, 
either before or with us; whenever the sun (that 
is, either some extreme mischance in life, or the 
certain destiny of death) doth arise, and make 
impression on them. But our Saviour hath best 
set out the nature and condition of these things, in 
that parable concerning the man, who, having had Luke xn. 
a plentiful crop of corn, and having projected for I9 ' 
the disposal of it, resolved then to bless himself, 
and entertain his mind with pleasing discourses, 
that having in readiness and security so copious 
accommodations, he might now enjoy himself with 
full satisfaction and delight, not considering, that, 
though his barns were full, his life was not sure ; 
that God's pleasure might soon interrupt his pas- 
time; that the fearful sentence might presently be 
pronounced : Thou fool, this night thy life shall be ver. 20. 
required of thee; and what thou hast prepared, to 
whom shall it fall ? Euripides 2 calls riches <i>t\o- 
^vypv XP*H XCI > A thing which much endears life, or 
makes men greatly love it; but they do not at all 
enable to keep it : there is no 'AvrdWayna. t*?s Matt. xvi. 
^vxw, no price or ransom equivalent to life : All } b u. 4 . 
that a man hath, he would give to redeem it ; but it 
is a purchase too dear for all the riches in the 
world to compass. So the Psalmist tells us : They p s . xHx. 
that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in ' 7 ' 
the multitude of their riches, none of them can by 
any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a 

Phcen. 597.] 

17 — 2 

260 The Consideration of our latter End. 

seem, ransom for him; for the redemption of their soul is 
_ XLL _ precious. They cannot redeem their brother's soul 
or life, nor therefore their own; for all souls are of 
the same value, all greatly surpass the price of gold 
and silver. Life was not given us for perpetuity, 
but lent, or deposited with us ; and without delay 
or evasion it must be resigned into the hand of its 
just owner, when he shall please to demand it; and 
although righteousness may, yet Riches, as the 
Prov.xi.4. Wise Man tells us, cannot deliver from death, nor 
at all profit us in the day of wrath. Could we 
probably retain our possessions for ever in our 
hands; nay, could we certainly foresee some con- 
siderably long definite time, in which we might 
enjoy our stores, it were perhaps somewhat 
excusable to scrape and hoard, it might look like 
rational providence, it might yield some valuable 
satisfaction; but since, Rape, congere, aufer, pos- 
Prov. side: relinquendum est 3 - : since, as Solomon tells us, 
xxvu. 24. jfo c j ies are not j 0T ever> nor doth i\ e CT own endure 

to every generation; yea, since they must be left 
very soon, nor is there any certainty of keeping 
them any time; that one day may consume them, 
one night may dispossess us of them and our life 
together with them, there can be no reason why 
we should be solicitous about them; no account 
given of our setting so high a rate upon them. 
For who would much regard the having custody 
of a rich treasure for a day or two, then to be 
stripped of all, and left bare*? to be to-day invested 

,l [Mart. viii. 44. 9.J 

* For who would regard the having custody of a rich trea- 
sure for a day or two ; then to be left bare and naked ; 

The Consideration oj our latter End. 261 

in large domains, and to-morrow to be dispossessed serm. 

of them ? No man surely would be so fond, as — 

much to affect the condition. Yet this is our 
case; whatever we call ours, we are but guardians 
thereof for a few days. This consideration there- 
fore may serve to repress or moderate in us all 
covetous desires, proud conceits, vain confidences 
and satisfactions in respect to worldly wealth ; to 
induce us, in Job's language, Not to make gold Job xxxi. 
our hope, nor to say to the fine gold, Thou art my 
confidence; not to rejoice because our wealth is great, 
and because our hand hath gotten much; to extir- 
pate from our hearts that Root of all evil, the love i Tim. vi. 
of money. For if, as the Preacher thought, the IO ' 
greatest pleasure or benefit accruing from them, is 
but looking upon them for a while ; ( What good, Eccies. v. 
saith he, is there to the owners thereof, saving the 11 ' 
beholding of them with their eyes f) if a little will, 
nay must suffice our natural appetites, and our 

to dwell in Potosy, in the midst of the richest mine, encircled 
with all the wealth of Peru, without right or capacity to use 
it ; to be factor for millions in another's behalf, oneself per- 
ceiving little or no benefit therefrom ; to be titular master 
(as the Spaniard of Hierusalem) of large domains, which we 
be far enough from ever enjoying ? None surely would be so 
fond, as much to affect being so. Yet 'tis our case ; if the 
witty Stoic says true, (and surely he doth, for sacred autho- 
rity we saw doth consent,) Quicquid est cui dominus inscri- 
beris, apud te est, tuum non est ; nihil firmum infirmo, nihil 
fragile seternum et invictum est b . Whatever calls us Lord, 
and bears our inscription is with us, but is not ours ; nothing 
can be firm to that which is infirm; nothing eternal and 
immutable to that which itself is frail and unstable. MS. 

b [Sen. Ep. xcvni.J 


. v. 


i Tim. 






Heb. xiii. 


i Tim. 



Ps. lv. 


262 The Consideration of our latter End. 

seem, present necessities; if more than needs is but, as 
the Scripture teaches us, a trouble, disquieting our 
minds with care; a dangerous snare, drawing us 
into mischief and sorrow; if this, I say, be their 
present quality; and were it better, yet could it 
last for any certain, or any long continuance, is it 
not evidently better to enjoy that pittance God 
hath allotted us with ease and contentation of 
mind c ; or if we want a necessary supply, to employ 
only a moderate diligence in getting thereof by the 
fairest means, which, with God's blessing promised 
thereto, will never fail to procure a competence; 
and with this to rest content; than with those in 

Amos u. 7. Amos, To pant after the dust of the earth; To lade 

' ourselves with thick clay; to thirst insatiably after 

floods of gold, to heap up mountains of treasure, 

isai. v. 8. to extend unmeasurably our possessions, {Joining 
house to house, and laying field to field, till there he 
no place, that we may be 'placed alone in the midst 
of the earth, as the prophet Isaiah doth excellently 
describe the covetous man's humour ;) than, I say, 
thus incessantly to toil for the maintenance of this 
frail body, this flitting breath of ours? If divine 
bounty hath freely imparted a plentiful estate upon 
us, we should indeed bless God for it; making 

Lukexvi. ourselves friends thereby, as our Saviour advises 
us, employing it to God's praise and service; to 
the relief and comfort of our brethren that need : 
but to seek it earnestly, to set our heart upon it, 
to rely thereon, to be greatly pleased or elevated 
in mind thereby, as it argues much infidelity 
and profaneness of heart, so it signifies much 

e Simplici cura constant necessaria; in delicias laboratur. — 
Sen. [Ep. xc. 14.] 

The Consideration of our latter End. 263 

inconsiderateness and folly, the ignorance of its serm. 

nature, the forgetfulness of our own condition, upon — 

the grounds discoursed upon. 

3 Now in the next place ; for pleasure, that 
great witch, which so enchants the world, and 
which by its mischievous baits so allures mankind 
into sin and misery ; although this consideration be 
not altogether necessary to disparage it, (its own 
nature sufficing to that; for it is more transitory 
than the shortest life, it dies in the very enjoy- 
ment,) yet it may conduce to our wise and good 
practice in respect thereto, by tempering the sweet- 
ness thereof, yea souring its relish to us; minding 
us of its insufficiency and unserviceableness to the 
felicity of a mortal creature; yea, its extremely 
dangerous consequences to a soul that must survive 
the short enjoyment thereof. Some persons in- 
deed, ignorant or incredulous of a future state; 
presuming of no sense remaining after death, nor 
regarding any account to be rendered of this life's 
actions, have encouraged themselves and others in 
the free enjoyment of present sensualities, upon 
the score of our life's shortness and uncertainty; 
inculcating such maxims as these : 

Brevis hie est fructus homullis a ; 
Post mortem nulla voluptas : 

Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we shall die; i Cor. xv. 
because our life is short, let us make the most 
advantageous use thereof we can 8 ; because death 

d Lucret. [hi. 927.] 

e Quem Fors dierum cunque dabit, lucro 

Appone ; nee dulces amores 

Sperne puer, &c. — 

Hor. Carm. I 9. 14. 

264 The Consideration of our latter End. 

seem. i s uncertain, let us prevent its surprisal, and be 
X aforehand with it, enjoying somewhat, before it 
snatches all from us. The author of Wisdom ob- 
served, and thus represents these men's discourse : 

Sap. ii. r, Our life is short and tedious; and in the death of 
a man there is no remedy; neither was there any 
man known to have returned from the grave : — 
Come on therefore, let us enjoy the good things 
that are present; let us speedily use the creatures 
like as in youth; let us fill ourselves with costly 
wine and ointments; and let no flower of the 
spring pass by us; let us crown ourselves with 
rosebuds before they be withered; let none of us 
go without his part of voluptuousness — for this is 
our portion, and our lot is this. Thus, and no 
wonder, have some men, conceiving themselves 
beasts, resolved to live as such; renouncing all 
sober care becoming men, and drowning their 
reason in brutish sensualities; yet no question, the 
very same reflection, that this life would soon pass 
away, and that death might speedily attack them, 
did not a little quash their mirth, and damp their 
pleasure. To think, that this perhaps might be the 
last banquet they should taste of; that they should 
themselves shortly become the feast of worms and 
serpents, could not but somewhat spoil the gust of 
their highest delicacies, and disturb the sport of 
their loudest jovialties; but in Job's expression, 

job xx. i 4 . Make the meat in their bowels to turn, and be as 
the gall of asps within them. Those customary 
enjoyments did so enamour them of sensual de- 
light, that they could not without pungent regret 
imagine a necessity of soon for ever parting with 
them; and so their very pleasure was by this 

The Consideration of our latter End. 265 
thought made distasteful and imbittered to them. serm. 


So did the Wise Man observe : death, how hitter 

is the remembrance of thee to a man that liveth at J[ J 18 ' 
rest in his possessions; unto the man that hath 
nothing to vex him; and that hath prosperity in all 
things; Yea, adds he, unto him, that is yet able to 
receive meat! And how bitter then must the 
remembrance thereof be to him, who walloweth in 
all kind of corporal satisfaction and delight; that 
placeth all his happiness in sensual enjoyment! 
However, as to us, who are better instructed and 
affected ; who know and believe a future state ; the 
consideration, that the time of enjoying these 
delights will soon be over; that this world's jollity 
is but like The crackling of thorns under a pot, Eccies. vii. 
(which yields a brisk sound, and a cheerful blaze, 
but heats little, and instantly passes away;) that 
they leave no good fruits behind them, but do only 
corrupt and enervate our minds; war against and 
hurt our souls ; tempt us to sin, and involve us in 
guilt; that therefore Solomon was surely in the 
right, when he said of Laughter that it is mad; and Eccies. ii. 
of mirth, what doeth it? (that is, that the highest of 
these delights are very irrational impertinences;) 
and of intemperance, that, at the last, It biteth like Prov.xxiii. 
a serpent, and stingeth like an adder; with us, 1 32 ' 
say who reflect thus, that Tlpocricaipos a/xapTias Heb. xi. 

d-TroXavais, Enjoyment of sinful pleasure for a season c5 ' 
cannot obtain much esteem and love; but will 
rather, I hope, be despised and abhorred by us. I 
will add only, 

4 Concerning secular wisdom and knowledge f ; 

AokeI yovv ij (ro^ia Oavfiaaras rjdovas e%eiv Kadapiorrjri, Kal T<5 
/3e/3a(G>. — Arist. Eth. x. 7. [3. J 

266 The Consideration of our latter End. 

serm. the which men do also commonly with great ear- 
- T L nestness and ambition seek after, as the most spe- 
cious ornament, and pure content of their mind; 
this consideration doth also detect the just value 
thereof; so as to allay intemperate ardour toward 
it, pride and conceitedness upon the having or 
seeming to have it, envy and emulation about it. 
For imagine, if you please, a man accomplished 
with all varieties of learning commendable, able to 
recount all the stories that have been ever written, 
or the deeds acted, since the world's beginning; to 
understand, or with the most delightful fluency and 
elegancy to speak all the languages, that have at 
any time been in use among the sons of men; 
skilful in twisting and untwisting all kinds of 
subtleties; versed in all sorts of natural experi- 
ments, and ready to assign plausible conjectures 
about the causes of them; studied in all books 
whatever, and in all monuments of antiquity; 
deeply knowing in all the mysteries of art, or 
science, or policy, such as have ever been devised by 
human wit, or study, or observation; yet all this, 
such is the pity, he must be forced presently to 
abandon; all the use he could make of all his 
notions, the pleasure he might find in them, the 
reputation accruing to him from them, must at 
p«. cxivi. that fatal minute vanish ; His breath goeth forth, 
he returneth to his earth ; in that very day his 
Ecdes. ix. thoughts perish. There is no work, nor device, nor 
knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave, whither he goeth. 
Ts. xiix. It is seen, saith the Psalmist, seen indeed every 
^ day, and observed by all, that wise men die, likewise 

,, i6,\vi. the fool and brutish person perisheth; One event 
lappeneth to them both; There is no remembrance 

The Consideration of our latter End. 267 

of the wise more than of the fool for ever; (both serm. 

die alike, both alike are forgotten ;) as the wisest L 

man himself did (not without some distaste) observe 
and complain. All our subtle conceits and nice 
criticisms, all our fine inventions and goodly specu- 
lations, shall be swallowed up either in the utter 
darkness, or in the clearer light, of the future state. 
One potion of that Lethean cup (which we must 
all take down upon our entrance into that Land p s . 
of forgetfulness) will probably drown the memory, ^ ** vm - 
deface the shape of all those ideas, with which we 
have here stuffed our minds g : however they are 
not like to be of use to us in that new, so different, 
state; where none of our languages are spoken; 
none of our experience will suit; where all things 
have quite another face, unknown, unthought of by 
us; where Aristotle and Varro shall appear mere 
idiots; Demosthenes and Cicero shall become very 
infants; the wisest and eloquentest Greeks will 
prove senseless and dumb barbarians; where all 
our authors shall have no authority; where we 
must all go fresh to school again; must unlearn, 
perhaps, what in these misty regions we thought 
ourselves best to know, and begin to learn what we 
not once ever dreamed of. Doth, therefore, I pray 
you, so transitory and fruitless a good (for itself I 
mean, and excepting our duty to God, or the 
reasonable diligence we are bound to use in our 
calling) deserve such anxious desire, or so restless 
toil ; so careful attention of mind, or assiduous pain 
of body about it? doth it become us to contend, 

g Trjv $' 'laoKparovs biarpifiriv iiria-Kconrmv, yrjpqv <pr)<rt Trap' avra 
tovs p,a6r)Tas, (is iv &8ov xprjaopevovs rais renvois, Kal diKas epovvras. 
— Cato Sen. apud Plut. Opp. Tom. v. p. 641. Ed. Steph. 

268 The Consideration of our latter End. 

seem, or emulate so much about it? Above all, do 
- - X _ 1 ' we not most unreasonably, and against the nature 
of the thing itself we pretend to, (that is, ignorantly 
and foolishly,) if we are proud and conceited, much 
value ourselves or contemn others, in respect 
thereto? Solomon, the most experienced in this 
matter, and best able to judge thereof, (he that 
gave his heart to seek and search out by wisdom 
concerning all things that had been done under 
heaven, and this with extreme success; even he) 
passeth the same sentence of vanity, vexation, and 
unprofitableness, upon this, as upon all other sub- 
celestial things. True, he commends wisdom as an 
Eccies. ii. excellent and useful thing h comparatively; Exceed- 
I3, I5 ' ing folly, so far as light exceedeth darkness; but 
since light itself is not permanent, but must give 
way to darkness, the difference soon vanished, and 
his opinion thereof abated ; considering, that as it 
happened to the fool, so it happened to him, he 
breaks into that expostulation; And why then was 
I more wise f to what purpose was such a distinc- 
tion made, that signified in effect so little? And, 
indeed, the testimony of this great personage may 
serve for a good epilogue to all this discourse, 
discovering sufficiently the slender worth of all 
earthly things : seeing he, that had given himself 
industriously to experiment the worth of all things 
here below, to sound the depth of their utmost 
perfection and use; who had all the advantages 
imaginable of performing it; who flourished in 
the greatest magnificences of worldly pomp and 
power; who enjoyed an incredible affluence of all 

Anrkovv opwaiv ot /xaOovres ypafifxara. 

[Menand. Sentcnt. Sing. p. 336. Ed. Moinek.] 

The Consideration of our latter End. 269 

riches; who tasted all varieties of most exquisite seem. 

pleasure; whose heart was (by God's special gift, — 

and by his own industrious care) enlarged with all 

kind of knowledge, (furnished with notions many 

as the sand upon the sea-shore,) above all that i Kings i\ 

were before him; who had possessed and enjoyed 29 ' 

all that fancy could conceive, or heart could wish, 

and had arrived to the top of secular happiness; 

yet even he with pathetical reiteration pronounces 

all to be Vanity and vexation of spirit; altogether Eccks. i. 

unprofitable and unsatisfactory to the mind of 14 ' 

man. And so therefore we may justly conclude 

them to be ; so finishing the first grand advantage 

this present consideration affordeth us in order 

to that wisdom, to which we should apply our 


I should proceed to gather other good fruits, 
which it is apt to produce, and contribute to the 
same purpose; but since my thoughts have taken 
so large scope upon that former head, so that I 
have already too much, I fear, exercised your 
patience, I shall only mention the rest. As this 
consideration doth, as we have seen, first, dispose 
us rightly to value these temporal goods, and 
moderate our affections about them; so it doth, 
secondly, in like manner, conduce to the right 
estimation of temporal evils; and thereby to the 
well tempering our passions in the resentment of 
them; to the begetting of patience and contented- 
ness in our minds. Also, thirdly, it may help us 
to value, and excite us to regard those things, 
good or evil, which relate to our future state ; 
being the things only of a permanent nature, and 
of an everlasting consequence to us. Fourthly, it 

270 The Consideration of our latter End. 

serm. will engage us to husband carefully, and well 
XLL employ this short time of our present life : not to 
defer or procrastinate our endeavours to live well; 
not to be lazy and loitering in the dispatch of our 
only considerable business, relating to eternity; 
to embrace all opportunities, and improve all 
means, and follow the best compendiums of good 
practice leading to eternal bliss. Fifthly, it will 
be apt to confer much toward the begetting and 
preserving sincerity in our thoughts, words, and 
actions; causing us to decline all oblique designs 
upon present mean interests, or base regards to 
the opinions or affections of men; bearing single 
respects to our conscience and duty in our actions ; 
teaching us to speak as we mean, and be what we 
would seem ; to be in our hearts and in our closets, 
what we appear in our outward expressions and 
conversations with men. For considering, that 
within a very short time all the thoughts of our 
hearts shall be disclosed, and all the actions of our 
lives exposed to public view, (being strictly to be 
examined at the great bar of divine judgment 
before angels and men,) we cannot but perceive it 
to be the greatest folly in the world, for this short 
present time to disguise ourselves; to conceal our 
intentions, or smother our actions. What hath 
occurred, upon these important subjects, to my 
meditation, I must at present, in regard to your 
patience, omit. I shall close all with that good 
collect of our Church. 

Almighty God, give us grace, that we may cast 
away the works of darkness, and put upon us the 
armour of light, now in the time of this mortal 
life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit 

The Consideration of our latter End. 271 

us in great humility; that in the last day, when seem. 

he shall come again in his glorious majesty to '— 

judge both the quick and dead, we may rise to 
the life immortal, through him who liveth and 
reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and 
ever. Amen. 



Psalm XC. 12. 

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our 
hearts unto wisdom. 

serm. JN discoursing formerly upon these words, (ex- 

*- pounded according to the most common and 

passable interpretation,) that which I chiefly ob- 
served was this : That the serious consideration of 
the shortness and frailty of our life is a fit mean or 
rational instrument subservient to the bringing our 
hearts to wisdom a ; that is, to the making us dis- 
cern, attend unto, embrace, and prosecute such 
things, as according to the dictates of right reason 
are truly best for us. 

I. The truth of which observation I largely 
declared from hence, that the said consideration 
disposeth us to judge rightly about those goods, 
(which ordinarily court and tempt us, viz. worldly 
glory and honour; riches, pleasure, knowledge; to 
which I might have added wit, strength, and 
beauty,) what their just worth and value is; and 
consequently to moderate our affections, our cares, 
our endeavours about them; for that, if all those 
goods be uncertain and transitory, there can be no 

a All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change 
come,. — Job xiv 14. 

The Consideration of our latter End. 273 

great reason to prize them much, or to affect them seem. 

vehemently, or to spend much care and pains . !_ 

about them. 

II. I shall next in the same scales weigh our 
temporal evils ; and say, that also the consideration 
of our lives' brevity and frailty doth avail to the 
passing a true judgment of, and consequently to 
the governing our passions, and ordering our be- 
haviour in respect to all those temporal evils, which 
either according to the law of our nature, or the 
fortuitous course of things, or the particular dispen- 
sation of Providence do befall us. Upon the 
declaration of which point I need not insist much, 
since what was before discoursed concerning the 
opposite goods doth plainly enough infer it; more 
immediately indeed in regard to the mala damni, 
or privationis, (the evils which consist only in the 
want or loss of temporal goods,) but sufficiently 
also, by a manifest parity of reason, in respect to 
the mala sensus, the real pains, crosses, and incon- 
veniences that assail us in this life. For if worldly 
glory do hence appear to be no more than a transient 
blaze, a fading show, a hollow sound, a piece of 
theatrical pageantry, the want thereof cannot be 
very considerable to us. Obscurity of condition 
(living in a valley beneath that dangerous height, 
and deceitful lustre) cannot in reason be deemed a 
very sad or pitiful thing, which should displease or 
discompose us : if we may thence learn, that abun- 
dant wealth is rather a needless clog, or a perilous 
snare, than any great convenience to us, we cannot 
well esteem to be poor a great infelicity, or to 
undergo losses a grievous calamity; but rather a 
benefit to be free from the distractions that attend 
b. s. vol. in. 18 

274 The Consideration of our latter End. 

skrm. it; to have little to keep for others, little to care 
S L_ for ourselves. If these present pleasures be dis- 
cerned hence to be only wild fugitive dreams ; out 
of which being soon roused we shall only find 
bitter regrets to abide ; why should not the wanting 
opportunities of enjoying them be rather accounted 
a ha]3py advantage, than any part of misery to us 1 
If it seem, that the greatest perfection of curious 
knowledge, of what use or ornament soever, after 
it is hardly purchased, must soon be parted with ; 
to be simple or ignorant will be no great matter of 
lamentation: as those will appear no solid goods, 
so these consequently must be only Umbrae malo- 
rum h , Phantasms, or shadows of evil, rather than 
truly or substantially so ; (evils created by fancy, 
and subsisting thereby; which reason should, and 
time will surely remove ;) that in being impatient 
or disconsolate for them, we are but like children, 
that fret and wail for the want of petty toys. And 
for the more real or positive evils, such as violently 
assault nature, whose impressions no reason can so 
withstand, as to extinguish all distaste or afflictive 
sense of them; yet this consideration will aid to 
abate and assuage them; affording a certain hope 
and prospect of approaching redress. It is often 
seen at sea, that men (from unacquaintance with 
such agitations, or from brackish steams arising 
from the salt water) are heartily sick, and dis- 
cover themselves to be so by apparently grievous 
symptoms ; yet no man hardly there doth mind or 
pity them, because the malady is not supposed 
dangerous, and within a while will probably of 

b Sen. [Ep. xcix. 3. J 

The Consideration of our latter End. 275 

itself pass over; or that however the remedy is not serm, 
far off; the sight of land, a taste of the fresh air will XLI1, . 
relieve them : it is near our case : we passing over 
this troublesome sea of life; from unexperience, 
joined with the tenderness of our constitution, we 
cannot well endure the changes and crosses of for- 
tune; to be tossed up and down; to suck in the 
sharp vapours of penury, disgrace, sickness, and the 
like, doth beget a qualm in our stomachs ; make us 
nauseate all things, and appear sorely distempered ; 
yet is not our condition so dismal as it seems; we 
may grow hardier, and wear out our sense of afflic- 
tion; however, the land is not far off, and by dis- 
embarking hence we shall suddenly be discharged 
of all our molestations. It is a common solace of 
grief, approved by wise men, Si gravis, brevis est; 
si longus, levis"; if it be very grievous and acute, 
it cannot continue long without intermission or 
respite; if it abide long, it is supportable d : intoler- 
able pain is like lightning, it destroys us, or is itself 
instantly destroyed. However, death at length 
(which never is far off) will free us e ; be we never 
so much tossed with storms of misfortune, that is a 
sure haven; be we persecuted with never so many 
enemies, that is a safe refuge; let what pains 
or diseases soever infest us, that is an assured 

c [Cic. de Fin. n. 29, 95.] 

d Gapcrtf ixavov yap anpov ovk e^ei yfiovov. — ^Eschyl. apud Plut. 
de Aud. Poet, sub finem. [Opp. Tom. i. p. 62. Ed. Steph.] 

To fjitv acpoprjTOV, flayer to 8e %povt£ov, (poprjTov. — M. Ant. VII. 
§. 33. 

Summi doloris intentio invenit finem. Nemo potest valde do- 
lere et diu ; sic nos amantissima nostri natura disposuit, ut dolorem 
aut tolerabilem, aut brevem faceret. — Sen. [Ep. lxxviii. 7.] 

e Dolore perculsi mortem imploramus, eamque unam, ut mise- 
riarum malorumque terminum exoptamus Cic. Consolat. 


276 The Consideration of our latter End. 

seem, anodynon, an infallible remedy for them all; how- 
X LIL ever we be wearied with the labours of the day, the 
night will come and ease us; the grave will become 
a bed of rest unto us. Shall I die f I shall then 
cease to be sick f ; I shall be exempted from dis- 
grace ; I shall be enlarged from prison ; I shall be 
no more pinched with want; no more tormented 
with pain. Death is a winter, that, as it withers 
the rose and lily, so it kills the nettle and thistle ; 
as it stifles all worldly joy and pleasure, so it sup- 
presses all care and grief; as it hushes the voice of 
mirth and melody, so it stills the clamours and the 
sighs of misery ; as it defaces all the world's glory, 
so it covers all disgrace, wipes off all tears, silences 
all complaint, buries all disquiet and discontent. 
King Philip of Macedon once threatened the Spar- 
tans to vex them sorely, and bring them into great 
straits ; but, answered they, can he hinder us from 
dying? that indeed is a way of evading which no 
enemy can obstruct, no tyrant can debar men 
from; they who can deprive of life, and its conve- 
niences, cannot take away death from them g There 

job iii. 17, is a place, Job tells us, Where the wicked cease from 
troubling, and where the weary be at rest: where 
the 'prisoners rest together; they hear not the voice 
of the oppressor: the small and great are there; and 
the servant is free from his master. It is therefore 
but holding out a while, and a deliverance from the 

f Moriar ? hoc dicis ; desinam segrotare posse, &c. — Sen. Ep. 
xxiv. [16. J 

g "Kbrjv 8' e X w Pot)86v, ov Tpepco vKias. — [Plut. consol. ad Apol. 
Opp. Tom. vi. p. 404. Ed. Reisk.] 

Eripere vitam nemo non homini potest; 
At nemo mortem — 

Sun. Trag. [Fhoeri. 1.52. J 

The Consideration of our latter End. 277 

worst this world can molest us with shall of its own seem. 

accord arrive unto us ; in the mean-time it is better L 

that we at present owe the benefit of our comfort 
to reason, than afterward to time 11 ; by rational con- 
sideration to work patience and contentment in our- 
selves; and to use the shortness of our life as an 
argument to sustain us in our affliction, than to find 
the end thereof only a natural and necessary means 
of our rescue from it. The contemplation of this 
cannot fail to yield something of courage and solace 
to us in the greatest pressures ; these transient and 
shortlived evils, if we consider them as so, cannot 
appear such horrid bugbears, as much to affright 
or dismay us; if we remember how short they are, 
we cannot esteem them so great, or so intolerable 1 
There be, I must confess, divers more noble con- 
siderations, proper and available to cure discontent 
and impatience. The considering, that all these 
evils proceed from God's just will, and wise provi- 
dence; unto which it is fit, and we upon all ac- 
counts are obliged, readily to submit ; that they do 
ordinarily come from God's goodness and gracious 
design towards us; that they are medicines (al- 
though ungrateful, yet wholesome) administered by 
the Divine Wisdom to prevent, remove, or abate 
our distempers of soul, (to allay the tumours of 
pride, to cool the fevers of intemperate desire, to 
rouse us from the lethargy of sloth, to stop the 
gangrene of bad conscience ;) that they are fatherly 
corrections, intended to reclaim us from sin, and 

O o3i> fxeXKeis r<5 XP° V< ? X a P^ €Cr ^ M > T0 ^ T0 T( ? ^oyo) ^apio-ai. 
— Plut. Consol. ad Apol. Opp. Tom. i. p. 195. Ed. Steph. 

1 Omnia autem brevia, tolerabilia esse debent, etiam si magna 
sint. — Cic. Lsel. ad fin. 

278 The Consideration of our latter End. 

serm. excite us to duty; that they serve as instruments 
XLIL or occasions to exercise, to try, to refine our virtue; 
to beget in us the hope, to qualify us for the recep- 
tion of better rewards: such discourses, indeed, are 
of a better nature, and have a more excellent kind 
of efficacy; yet no fit help, no good art, no just 
weapon is to be quite neglected in the combat 
against our spiritual foes. A pebble-stone hath 
been sometimes found more convenient than a 
sword or a spear to slay a giant. Baser remedies 
(by reason of the patient's constitution, or circum- 
stances) do sometime produce good effect, when 
others in their own nature more rich and potent 
want efficacy. And surely frequent reflections 
upon our mortality, and living under the sense of 
our lives' frailty, cannot but conduce somewhat to 
the begetting in us an indifferency of mind toward 
all these temporal occurrents; to extenuate both 
the goods and the evils we here meet with ; conse- 
quently therefore to compose and calm our passions 
about them. 

III. But I proceed to another use of that 
consideration we speak of, emergent from the 
former, but so as to improve it to higher purposes. 
For since it is useful to the diminishing our admi- 
ration of these worldly things, to the withdrawing 
our affections from them, to the slackening our 
endeavours about them ; it will follow that it must 
conduce also to beget an esteem, a desire, a pro- 
secution of things conducing to our future welfare ; 
both by removing the obstacles of doing so, and 
by engaging us to consider the importance of those 
things in comparison with these. By removing 
obstacles, I say ; for while our hearts are possessed 

The Consideration of our latter End. 279 

with regard and passion toward these present seem. 

things, there can be no room left in them for !_ 

respect and affection toward things future. It 
is in our soul as in the rest of nature ; there can 
be no penetration of objects, as it were, in our 
hearts, nor any vacuity in them: our mind no 
more than our body can be in several places, or 
tend several ways, or abide in perfect rest ; yet 
somewhere it will always be ; somewhither it will 
always go ; somewhat it will ever be doing. If 
we have a treasure here, (somewhat we greatly like Matt. vi. 
and much confide in,) our hearts will be here with 
it ; and if here, they cannot be otherwhere ; they 
will be taken up, they will rest satisfied, they will 
not care to seek further. If we affect worldly John v. 44; 
glory, and delight in the applause of men, we shall xu ' 4 ' 
not be so careful to please God, and seek his 
favour. If we admire and repose confidence in 
riches, it will make us neglectful of God, and dis- 
trustful of his providence : if our mind thirsts Rom. vm. 
after, and sucks in greedily sensual pleasures, we 
shall not relish spiritual delights, attending the 
practice of virtue and piety, or arising from good 
conscience : adhering to, attending upon masters Matt. vi. 
of so different, so opposite a quality is inconsistent ; 
they cannot abide peaceably together, they cannot 
both rule in our narrow breasts ; we shall love and 
hold to the one, hate and despise the other. i^iJohnii. 
any man love the world, the love of the Father is not 
in him; the love of the world, as the present guest, 
so occupies and fills the room, that it will not 
admit, cannot hold the love of God. But when 
the heart is discharged and emptied of these things ; 
when we begin to despise them as base and vain ; 

280 The Consideration of our latter End. 

sekm. to distaste them as insipid and unsavoury; then 
X ^l_ naturally will succeed a desire after other things 
promising a more solid content; and desire will 
Dreed endeavour; and endeavour (furthered by 
God's assistance always ready to back it) will yield 
such a glimpse and taste of those things, as will 
so comfort and satisfy our minds, that thereby 
they will be drawn and engaged into a more earnest 
prosecution of them. When, I say, driving on 
ambitious projects, heaping up wealth, providing 
for the flesh, (by our reflecting on the shortness 
and frailty of our life,) become so insipid to us, 
that we find little appetite to them, or relish in 
them ; our restless minds will begin to hunger and 
thirst after righteousness, desiring some satisfaction 
thence : discerning these secular and carnal frui- 

Luke xv. tions to be mere husks, (the proper food of swine,) 
we shall bethink ourselves of that better nourish- 
ment (of rational or spiritual comfort) which our 
Father's house doth afford to his children and 
servants. Being somewhat disentangled from the 
care of our farms and our traffics; from yoking 

Matt. xxii. our oxen, and being married to our present de- 
lights; we may be at leisure, and in disposition to 
comply with divine invitations to entertainments 
spiritual. Experiencing that our trade about these 
petty commodities turns to small account, and that 
in the end we shall be nothing richer thereby; 
reason will induce us, with the merchant in the 

Matt. xiii. Gospel, to sell all that we have (to forego our 
present interests and designs) for the purchasing 
that rich pearl of God's kingdom, which will yield 
so exceeding profit; the gain of present comfort 
to our conscience, and eternal happiness to our 

The Consideration of our latter End. 281 
souls. In fine, when we consider seriously, that serm. 


We have here no abiding city, but are only So- 
journers and pilgrims upon earth; that all our^ eb-xuu 
care and pain here do regard only an uncertain I Pet - "• 
and transitory state; and will therefore suddenly, 
as to all fruit and benefit, be lost unto us ; this will 
suggest unto us, with the good Patriarchs, Kpeir- 
toi/os opeyeaOai iraTp&os, To long after a better Keb.xi. 16. 
country ; a more assured and lasting state of life ; 
where we may enjoy some certain and durable 
repose ; to tend homeward, in our desires and 
hopes, toward those eternal mansions of joy and 
rest prepared for God's faithful servants in heaven. 
Thus will this consideration help toward the 
bringing us to inquire after and regard the things 
concerning our future state ; and in the result will 
engage us to compare them with these present 
things, as to our concernment in them and the 
consequence of them to our advantage or damage, 
whence a right judgment and a congruous practice 
will naturally follow. There be four ways of com- 
paring the things relating to this present life with 
those which respect our future state : comparing 
the goods of this with the goods of that ; the 
evils of this with the evils of that ; the goods of 
this with the evils of that ; the evils of this with 
the goods of that. All these comparisons we may 
find often made in Scripture ; in order to the in- 
forming our judgment about the respective value 
of both sorts ; the present consideration inter- 
vening, as a standard to measure and try them by. 
First, then ; comparing the present goods with 
those which concern our future state, since the 
transitoriness and uncertainty of temporal goods 

282 The Consideration of our latter End. 

sekm. detract from their worth, and render them in great 

_iL" L _ degree contemptible; but the durability and cer- 
tainty of spiritual goods doth increase their rate, 
and make them exceedingly valuable ; it is evident 
hence, that spiritual goods are infinitely to be pre- 
ferred in our opinion, to be more willingly em- 
braced, to be more zealously pursued, than temporal 
goods; that, in case of competition, when both 
cannot be enjoyed, we are in reason obliged readily 
to part with all these, rather than to forfeit our 
title unto, or hazard our hope of those. Thus in 
the Scripture it is often discoursed : The world, 

i John ii. saith St John, passeth away, and the desire 
' ' thereof; hut he that doeth the will of God abideth 

for ever. The world, and all that is desirable there- 
in, is transient; but obedience to God's command- 
ments is of an everlasting consequence ; whence he 

ver. 15. infers, that we should not love the world; that 
is, not entertain such an affection thereto, as may 
any way prejudice the love of God, or hinder the 
obedience springing thence, or suitable thereto. 

1 Pet. 1.24. All flesh is grass, saith St Peter, and all the 
glory of man as the flower of the grass: the grass 
withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away ; but 
the ivord of the Lord endureihfor ever: all worldly 
glory is frail and fading, but the word of God is 
eternally firm and permanent; that is, the good 
things by God promised to them, who faithfully 
serve him, shall infallibly be conferred on them to 
their everlasting benefit; whence it follows, that, 

iP.t . i.i 3 . as ] ie exhorts, we are bound to gird up the loins 
of our mind, to bo sober, and hope to the end; to 
proceed and persist constantly in faithful obedience 
to God. Charge those, saith St Paul, who are rich 

The Consideration of our latter End. 283 
in this world, that they he not high minded, nor seem, 


. VI. 

trust in uncertain riches, hut in the living God; 
that they do good, he rich in good works, ready- to jJ^j'J 1 ' 
distribute, willing to communicate; treasuring up 
for themselves a good foundation for the future ; 
that they may attain everlasting life. Since, argues 
he, present riches are of uncertain and short con- 
tinuance; but faith and obedience to God, exer- 
cised in our charity and mercy toward men, are a 
certain stock improvable to our eternal interest; 
therefore be not proud of, nor rely upon those, 
but regard especially, and employ yourselves upon 
these. Our Saviour himself doth often insist upon 
and inculcate this comparison : Treasure not unto Matt. 
yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and Ig ' 
rust do corrupt, and where thieves hredk through 
and steal; hut treasure up to yourselves treasures 
in heaven, where moth and rust do not corrupt, and 
where thieves do not break through and steal ; Do v j. , 5# 
not take care for your soul, what ye shall eat, and 
what ye shall drink; nor for your hody, what ye 
shall put on; hut seek first the kingdom of God; 
Labour not for the food that perisheth, hut for ^ejohnvi.27. 
food that abideih to eternal life ; Sell your substance, Lute xii. 
and give alms; provide yourselves hags that wax 33 ' 
not old; an indefectible treasure, Orjaavpov dvenXenr- 
tov, in the heavens. Thus doth the holy Scripture, 
setting forth the uncertainty and transitoriness of 
the present, the certainty and permanency of future 
goods, declare the excellency of these above those ; 
advising thereupon, with highest reason, that we 
willingly reject those (in real effect, if need be, 
however always in ready disposition of mind) in 
order to the procuring or securing of these. It 

xi. ^3, 24, 


284 The Consideration of our latter End. 

serm. also, for our example and encouragement, com- 
XLIL mends to us the wisdom and virtue of those per- 
sons, who have effectually practised this duty : of Abraham, our father, who, in expectation of that 
well-founded city made and built by God, did 
readily desert his country and kindred, with all 
present accommodations of life : of Moses, who 
disregarded the splendours and delights of a great 
court; rejected the alliance of a great princess, and 
Refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, 
in respect to the nia6cnro$oaia, that future distribu- 
tion of reward; a share wherein shall assuredly 
fall to them, who above all other considerations 
regard the performance of their duty to God of 

Matt. xix. the Apostles, who forsook all, parents, brethren, 

Liikexviii. lands, houses, trades, receipts of custom, to follow 

28 ' Christ; him at present poor, and naked of all 

secular honour, power, wealth, and delight; in 
hope only to receive from him divine benefits, and 

Luke x. 39, future preferments in his kingdom: of Mary, who 
neglecting present affairs, and seating herself at 
Jesus his feet, attending to his discipline, is com- 
mended for her wisdom, in minding The only ne- 
cessary thing ; in choosing the better part, which 

rhii. iii. 7, could never be taken from her : of St Paul, who 
Accounted all his gains (all his worldly interests 
and privileges) to be damage, to be dung in respect 
to Christ, and the excellent knowledge of him, with 
the benefits thence accruing to him. On the con- 

it.I). xii. trary, there we have Esau condemned and stigma- 
tized for a profane and a vain person, who, 'AvtI 
fifjwaews nias, For one little eatingbout, one mess of 
pottage, (for a little present satisfaction of sense, 
or for the sustenance of this frail life,) did witligo 

The Consideration of our latter End. 285 
his birthright, that emblem of spiritual blessings seem. 


and privileges. We have, again, represented to us 
that unhappy young gentleman; who, though ^ Markx ''7' 
had good qualities, rendering him amiable even to 
our Saviour, and had been trained up in the ob- 
servance of God's commandments, yet not being 
content to part with his large possessions, in lieu 
of the treasure by Christ offered in heaven, was 
reputed deficient; could find no acceptance with 
God, nor admission into his kingdom ; for a petty 
temporal commodity forfeiting an infinite eternal 
advantage. For, saith our Saviour, He that loveth Mat *- *• 
father or mother above me; he that doth not AateLukexiv. 
father and mother, wife and children, brothers and Mark x. 
sisters, yea his own life, for me and the Gospel, is 29 ' 
not worthy of me, nor can be my disciple. He that 
in his esteem or affection doth prefer any temporal 
advantages before the benefits tendered by our 
Saviour, (yea doth not in comparison despise, re- 
nounce, and reject his dearest contents of life, and 
the very capacity of enjoying them, his life itself,) 
doth not deserve to be reckoned among the dis- 
ciples of Christ ; to be so much as a pretender to 
eternal joy, or a candidate of immortality. Our 
Saviour rejects all such unwise and perverse 
traders, who will not exchange brittle glass for 
solid gold; counterfeit glistering stones for genuine 
most precious jewels; a garland of fading flowers 
for an incorruptible crown of glory; a small tem- 
porary pension for a vastly rich freehold ; An inhe- i Pet. i. 4 . 
ritance incorruptible and undefiled, and thatfadeth 
not away, reserved in the heavens. Thus doth the 
holy Scripture teach us to compare these sorts of 
good things ; 

286 The Consideration of our latter End. 

seem. And secondly, so also doth it to compare the 
XLIL evils of both states ; for that seeing, as the soon 

ceasing of temporal mischiefs should (in reasonable 
proceeding) diminish the fear of them, and mitigate 
the grief for them; so the incessant continuance of 
spiritual evils doth, according to just estimation, 
render them hugely grievous and formidable ; it is 
plain, that we should much more dislike, abominate, 
and shun spiritual evils, than temporal; that we 
should make no question rather to endure these 
paroxysms of momentary pain, than incur those 
chronical, and indeed incurable, maladies; that we 
should run willingly into these shallow plashes of 
present inconvenience, rather than plunge ourselves 
into those unfathomable depths of eternal misery. 
There is, I suppose, no man, who would not account 
it a very great calamity (such as hardly greater 
could befall him here) to have his right eye plucked 
out, and his right hand cut off, and his foot taken 
from him ; to be deformed and maimed, so that he 
can do nothing, or stir any whither : yet our Lord 
represents these to us as inconsiderable evils, yea 
as things very eligible and advantageous in com- 
parison of those mischiefs, which the voluntary 
not embracing them, in case we cannot otherwise 
than by so doing avoid sin, will bring on us: 
Matt. v. ^Lv/Kpepei aoi, It is, saith he, profitable for thee 
?9 " that one of thy members be lost, rather than that thy 

xviii. 8. whole body be cast into hell: Ka\6u <roi earrl, It is 
good, it is excellent for thee to enter into life lame 
and maimed; and one-eyed, rather than having two 
hands, and two feet, and two eyes, (in all integrity 
and beauty of this temporal, or corporal state,) to 
be cast into eternal fire, To be banished from one's 

The Consideration of our latter End. 287 

native soil, secluded from all comforts of friendly seem. 

acquaintance, divested irrecoverably of great estate — 

and dignity; becoming a vagrant and a servant in 
vile employment, in a strange country, every man 
would be apt to deem a wretched condition: yet 
Moses, we see, freely chose it, rather than by 
enjoying unlawful pleasures at home, in Pharaoh's 
court, to incur God's displeasure and vengeance: 
MaXXov e\6[xevo<s (TvyKaKovx^Oai, Choosing rather toHeb.xi.25. 
undergo evil together with God's people, than to 
have 7rp6aKaipov a/xapria^ diroXavaiv, a temporary 
fruition of sinful delight, dangerous to the welfare 
of his soul. Death is commonly esteemed the 
most extreme and terrible of evils incident to man ; 
yet our Saviour bids us not to regard or fear it, in 
comparison of that deadly ruin, which we adventure 
on by offending God: I say unto you, my friends, Lukexii.4. 
saith he, (he intended it for the most friendly 
advice,) Be not afraid of them that hill the body, 
and after that have nothing further to do: but I will 
shew you whom ye shall fear; Fear him, who, after 
he hath hilled, hath power to cast into hell, to cast 
both body and soul into hell, and destroy them 
therein ; yea, I say unto you, (so he inculcates and 
impresses it upon them,) Fear him. 

But thirdly, considering the good things of this 
life together with the evils of that which is to 
come; since enjoying these goods in comparison 
with enduring those evils, is but rejoicing for a 
moment in respect of mourning to eternity; if 
upon the seeming sweetness of these enjoyments 
to our carnal appetite be consequent a remediless 
distempering of our soul; so that what tastes like 
honey proves gall in the digestion, gripes our 

288 The Consideration of our latter End. 

seem, bowels, gnaws our heart, and stings our conscience 
— !_for ever; if present mirth and jollity have a ten- 
dency to that dreadful weeping and wailing and 
gnashing of teeth threatened in the Gospel ; if, for 
the praise and favour of a few giddy men here, we 
venture eternal shame and confusion before God 
and angels and all good men hereafter; if, for 
attaining or preserving a small stock of uncertain 
riches in this world, we shall reduce ourselves into a 
state of most uncomfortable nakedness and penury 
in the other; it is clear as the sun that we are 
downright fools and madmen, if we do not upon 
these accounts rather willingly reject all these good 
things, than hazard incurring any of those evils; 
Mark viii. for, saith truth itself, What will it profit a man, if 
Luke k. he gain the whole world, koI fyniwOij tyjv ^v^v, and 
2 °' be endamaged as to his soul, or lose his soul as a 

mulct ? It is a very disadvantageous bargain, for 
all the conveniences this world can afford to be 
deprived of the comforts of our immortal state. 

Lastly, comparing the evils of this life with the 
benefits of the future; since the worst tempests of 
this life will be soon blown over, the bitterest 
crosses must expire (if not before, however) with 
our breath ; but the good things of the future state 
are immutable and perpetual ; it is in evident con- 
sequence most reasonable, that we freely, if need 
be, undertake, and patiently endure these for the 
i ivt. i. 4. sake of those, that in hope of that Incorruptible 
inheritance, laid up for us in heaven, we not only 
support and comfort ourselves, but even rejoice 
and exult in all the afflictions by God's wise and 
just dispensation imposed on us here; as they in 

The Consideration of our latter End. 289 

St Peter, wherein, saith he, Ye greatly rejoice, s ™™*- 

dyaWiaade, (or exult,) being for a little while, 6\Lyov ; — 

apn, as in heaviness through manifold afflictions or 
trials. Accounting it aU joy, saith St James, when James i. i. 
ye fall into divers temptations, ireipaaixo^, (that is, 
afflictions or trials,) knowing that the trial of your 
faith perfecteth patience; that is, seeing the suffer- 
ance of these present evils conduceth to the fur- 
therance of your spiritual and eternal welfare. 
And, We glory in tribulation, saith St Paul, ren- Rom. v. 3. 
dering the same account, because it tended to their 
soul's advantage. St Paul, than whom no man 
perhaps ever more deeply tasted of the cup of 
affliction, and that tempered with all the most 
bitter ingredients which this world can produce; 
whose life was spent in continual agitation and 
unsettledness, in all hardships of travel and labour 
and care, in extreme sufferance of all pains both of 
body and mind; in all imaginable dangers and 
difficulties and distresses, that nature exposes man 
unto, or human malice can bring upon him; in all 
wants of natural comfort, (food, sleep, shelter, 
liberty, health;) in all kinds of disgrace and con- 
tumely; as you may see in those large inventories 
of his sufferings, registered by himself, in the 6th 
and nth chapters of his second Epistle to the 
Corinthians; yet all this, considering the good 
things he expected afterward to enjoy, he accounted 
very slight and tolerable : For, saith he, our light- 2 Cor. iv. 
ness of affliction, that is for a little while here, r6 17 ' v ' '* 
yap irapavTiKa e\a(pp6v tjj9 OXl^ews, WOrheth for US a 
far more exceeding weight of glory: while we look 
not at the things which are seen, but at those which 
are not seen: for the things which are seen are 

B. 8. VOL. III. ] 9 

290 The Consideration of our latter End. 

serm. temporal; hut the things which are not seen are 
eternal. For we know that when our earthly house 

of this tabernacle (of this unsteady transitory abode) 
is dissolved, we are to have a tabernacle from God, 
a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 

Rom. viii. I reckon, saith he again, that is, having made a 
due comparison and computation, I find, that the 
sufferings of this present time are not worthy (that 
is, are not considerable, come under no rate or 
proportion) in respect of the glory which shall be 
revealed (or openly conferred) upon us. The like 
opinion had those faithful Christians, in the Epistle 

Heb. x. 33, to the Hebrews, of whom it is said, that, Being 
exposed to public scorn as in a theatre, Oearpi^p/xevoi, 
with reproaches and afflictions, they did with glad- 
ness accept the spoiling, dp-n-ay^v, (or rapine) of 
their goods; knowing that they had in heaven a 
better and more enduring substance. But the 
principal example (most obliging our imitation) of 
this wise choice, is that of our Lord himself ; who, 
in contemplation of the future great satisfaction 
and reward of patient submission to the divine 
will, did willingly undergo the greatest of temporal 

Heb.xii.2. sorrows and ignominies; Who, saith the Apostle to 
the Hebrews, propounding his example to us, for 
the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, 
despising the shame, and is set down at the right 
hand of God. 

Thus immediately, or by an easy inference, 
doth the consideration of this life's shortness and 
uncertainty confer to that main part of wisdom, 
rightly to value the things about which we are 
conversant; disposing us consequently to moderate 
our affections, and rightly to guide our actions 

The Consideration of our latter End. 291 

about them; fitting us therefore for the perform- seem. 

ance of those duties so often enjoined us; of not - 

caring for, nor trusting in, not minding (unduly 
that is, and immoderately) things below ; of dying 
to this world, and taking up our cross, or content- 
edly suffering, in submission to God's will, all loss 
and inconvenience; as also to the placing our 
meditation and care, our love and desire, our hope 
and confidence, our joy and satisfaction, our most 
earnest pains and endeavours, upon things divine, 
spiritual, and eternal. 

IV I proceed to another general benefit of 
that general consideration; which is, that it may 
engage us to a good improvement of our time ; the 
doing which is a very considerable piece of wisdom. 
For if time be, as Theophrastus called it truly, A 
thing of most precious value*, (or expense,) as it 
were a great folly to lavish it away unprofitably ; 
so to be frugal thereof, and careful to lay it out 
for the best advantage, especially every man having 
so little store thereof, must be a special point of 
prudence. To be covetous of time (Seneca tells us) 
is a commendable avarice 1 ; it being necessary for 
the accomplishment of any worthy enterprise ; 
there being nothing excellent, that can soon or 
easily be effected. Surely he that hath much and 
great business to dispatch, and but a little time 
allowed for it, is concerned to husband it well ; not 
to lose it wholly in idleness ; not to trifle it away 
in unnecessary divertisements ; not to put himself 
upon other impertinent affairs; above all, not to 

[Suiter Te eXeye no\vre\es dvakcofia etvai tov xpovov. — Diog. 
Laer. (vit. Theoph.) v. 2. 10. J 

Cujus (temporis) unius honesta avaritia est.— [De Brev. Vit. 
cap. in. 2.] 


292 The Consideration of our latter End. 

seem, create obstacles to himself, by pursuing matters of 

— a tendency quite contrary to the success of his 

main undertakings. It is our case ; we are obliged 
here to negotiate in business of infinite price and 
consequence to us; no less than the salvation of 
our souls, and eternal happiness : and we see, that 
our time to drive it on and bring it to a happy 
issue is very scant and short; short in itself, and 
very short in respect to the nature of those affairs ; 
the great variety and the great difficulty of them. 
The great father of physicians did quicken the stu- 
dents of that faculty to diligence, by admonishing 
them (in the first place, setting it in the front of 
his famous aphorisms) that Life is short, and art is 
long m . And how much more so is the art of living 
well, (that most excellent and most necessary art : 
for indeed virtue is not a gift of nature, but a work 
of art" ; an effect of labour and study :) this, I say, 
most needful and useful art of living virtuously 
and piously; this art of spiritual physic, (of pre- 
serving and recovering our soul's health,) how much 
longer is it? how many rules are to be learnt? how 
many precepts to be observed in order thereto ? 
We are bound to furnish our minds with needful 
knowledge of God's will and our duty ; we are to 
bend our unwilling wills to a ready compliance 
with them; we are to adorn our souls with dispo- 
sitions suitable to the future state, (such as may 
qualify us for the presence of God, and conversa- 
tion with the blessed spirits above;) it is incum- 
bent on us to mortify corrupt desires, to restrain 

m [Hippocrat. Aphor. i. Opp. Tom. in. p. 706. Ed. Kuhn.] 
n Non enim dat natura virtutem ; ars ost bouum fieri. — Sen. 
[Ep. xc. 44.J 

The Consideration of our latter End. 293 

inordinate passions, to subdue natural propensities, B ™£- 

to extirpate vicious habits ; in order to the effecting 

these things, to use all fit means; devotion toward 
God, study of his law, reflection upon our actions, 
with all such spiritual instruments; the performing 
which duties, as it doth require great care and 
pains, so it needs much time ; all this is not dictum 
factum, as soon done as said ; a few spare minutes 
will not suffice to accomplish it. Natural inclina- 
tion, that wild beast within us, will not so presently 
be tamed, and made tractable by us. Ill habits 
cannot be removed without much exercise and 
attendance; as they were begot, so they must be 
destroyed, by a constant succession, and frequency 
of acts . Fleshly lust is not to be killed with a 
stab or two ; it will fight stoutly, and rebel often, 
and hold out long, before with our utmost endea- 
vour we can obtain an entire victory over it. No 
virtue is acquired in an instant, but by degrees, 
step by step; from the seeds of right instruction 
and good resolution it springs up, and grows for- 
ward by a continual progress of customary prac- 
tice; it is a child of patience, a fruit of perseve- 
rance, that 'Y-7rofxoi>rj epyov dyadod, Enduring in Rom. u. 7. 
doing well, St Paul speaks of, and consequently a 
work of time; for enduring implies a good space of 
time. Having therefore so much to do, and of so 
great concernment, and so little a portion of time 
for it, it behoves us to be careful in the improve- 
ment of what time is allowed us; to embrace all 
opportunities and advantages offered ; to go the 
nearest way, to use the best compendiums in the 
transaction of our business; not to be slothful and 

Ti (f)6(lpei to $6os ; evavriov e6os . — Epict. [Diss. 1. 17 ] 

294 The Consideration of our latter End. 

serm. negligent, but active and intent about it; (for as 

—time is diminished, and in part lost by sloth or 

slackness ; so it is enlarged, and, as it were, multi- 
plied by industry; my day is two in respect of his, 
who doeth but half my work :) not, also, to con- 
sume our time in fruitless pastimes, and curious 
entertainments of fancy; being idly busy about 
impertinences and trifles; (we call it sport, but it 
is a serious damage to us;) not to immerse our- 
selves in multiplicities of needless care about secular 
matters, which may distract us, and bereave us of 
fit leisure for our great employment; that which 
Lukex.41. our Saviour calls TvpfiaXeoQai -n-epl TToWd, To keep 
a great deal of do and stir (to be jumbled about as 
it were, and confounded) about many things; and, 

TlepiairaaOcii Trepl noWr/v hiaKov'iav, To be distracted 

and perplexed about much cumbersome service; 

1 Tim. ii. which St Paul calls 'E/uLTrXeiceaOai Tats rod fiiou 

4 ' Trpay/uLctTeiais, To be implicated and entangled, as 

in a net, with the negotiations of this present life; 
so that we shall not be expedite, or free to 
bestir ourselves about our more weighty affairs. 
The spending much time about those things 
doth steal it from these ; yea doth more than 
so, by discomposing our minds, so that we can- 
not well employ what time remains upon our spi- 
ritual concernments. But especially we should 
not prostitute our time upon vicious projects and 
practices ; doing which is not only a prodigality of 
the present time, but an abridgment of the future ; 
it not only doth not promote or set forward our 
business, but brings it backward, and makes us 
more work than we had before; it is a going in a 
way directly contrary to our journey's end. The 

The Consideration of our latter End. 295 

Scripture aptly resembles our life to a wayfaring, berm. 
a condition of travel and pilgrimage : now lie that - 

hath a long journey to make, and but a little time 
of day to pass it in, must in reason strive to set 
out soon, and then to make good speed ; must pro- 
ceed on directly, making no stops or deflections, 
(not calling in at every sign that invites him, not 
standing to gaze at every object seeming new or 
strange to him ; not staying to talk with every 
passenger that meets him; but rather avoiding all 
occasions of diversion and delay,) lest he be sur- 
prised by the night, be left to wander in the dark, 
be excluded finally from the place whither he 
tends: so must we, in our course toward heaven 
and happiness, take care that we set out soon, 
(procrastinating no time, but beginning instantly 
to insist in the ways of piety and virtue,) then 
proceed on speedily, and persist constantly; no- 
where staying or loitering, shunning all impedi- 
ments and avocations from our progress, lest we 
never arrive near, or come too late unto the gate 
of heaven. St Peter tells us, that the end of all 
things doth approach, and thereupon advises us 
To be sober, and to watch unto prayer ; for, that iPet.iv.7. 
the less our time is, the more intent and indus- 
trious it concerns us to be. And St Paul enjoins 
us To redeem the time, because the days are evil ; E p h. v. 16. 
that is, since we can enjoy no true quiet or comfort 
here, we should improve our time to the best 
advantage for the future : he might have also 
adjoined, with the patriarch Jacob, the paucity of 
the days to their badness ; because The days of Gen. xivii. 
our life are few and evil, let us redeem the time ; 9 " 
Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and Job xiv. 1. 

296 The Consideration of our latter End. 

seem, full of trouble: so few indeed they are, that it is fit 

XLI1, we should lose none of them, but use them all in 

preparation toward that great change we are to 

make: that fatal passage out of this strait time 

into that boundless eternity. So, it seems, we 

Job xiv. h ave Job's example of doing; All the days, says 
he, of my appointed time will I wait, till my change 
come. I end this point with that so comprehen- 

Lukexxi. s i V e warning of our Saviour: Take heed to your- 

34 ' 3 ' selves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged 
with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this 
life, and so that day come upon you unawares. 
Watch ye therefore, and pray, that ye may be 
counted worthy to escape — and to stand before the 
Son of man. 

V I shall adjoin but one use more, to which 
this consideration may be subservient, which is, 
that it may help to beget and maintain in us (that 
which is the very heart and soul of all goodness) 
sincerity: sincerity in all kinds, in our thoughts, 
words, and actions. To keep us from harbouring 
in our breasts such thoughts, as we would be 
afraid or ashamed to own; from speaking other- 
wise than we mean, than we intend to do, than we 
are ready any where openly to avow; from endea- 
vouring to seem what we are not ; from being one 
thing in our expressions and conversations with 
men; another in our hearts, or in our closets: 
from acting with oblique respects to private in- 
terests or passions, to human favour or censure; 
(in matters, I mean, where duty doth intervene, 
and where pure conscience ought to guide and 
govern us;) from making professions and ostenta- 
tions, (void of substance, of truth, of knowledge, 

The Consideration of our latter End. 297 

of good purpose,) great semblances of peculiar seem. 
sanctimony, integrity, scrupulosity, spirituality, 

refinedness, like those Pharisees so often therefore 
taxed in the Gospel; as also from palliating, as 
those men did, designs of ambition, avarice, envy, 
animosity, revenge, perverse humour, with pre- 
tences of zeal and conscience. We should indeed 
strive to be good (and that in all real strictness, 
aiming at utmost perfection) in outward act and 
appearance, as well as in heart and reality, for the 
glory of God and example of men, {Providing Rom. xii. 
things honest in the sight of all men;) but we must 
not shine with a false lustre, nor care to seem 
better than we are, nor intend to serve ourselves 
in seeming to serve God ; bartering spiritual com- 
modities for our own glory or gain. For since the 
day approaches when God will judge (rd npvirTa Rom.ii.i6. 
twv JvOpunrwv) the things men do so studiously con- 
ceal; when God shall bring every work into judg- Eocies. xii. 
ment, with every secret thing, ivhether it be good, or * 4 ' 
whether it be evil; since We must all appear (or 2 Cor. v. 
rather be all made apparent, be manifested and 
discovered p ) at the tribunal of Christ: since There Luke xii. 
is nothing covered, which shall not be revealed, nor 2 ' 3 ' 
hid, that shall not be known; so that whatever is 
spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed on 
the housetops: since at length, and that within a 
very short time, (no man knows how soon,) the 
whispers of every mouth (the closest murmurs of 
detraction, slander, and sycophantry) shall become 
audible to every ear; the abstrusest thoughts of 
all hearts (the closest malice and envy) shall be 

Ov yap napaa-Tfjvai ffpas air\as bet, aKXa Kai <pavfpa>6fjvai. 
— Chrys. [in 2 Cor. Orat. x. Opp. Tom. in. p. 606.J 

298 The Consideration of our latter End. 

seem, disclosed in the most public theatre before innu- 
XLIL merable spectators; the truth of all pretences shall 
be thoroughly examined; the just merit of every 
person and every cause shall with a most exact 
scrutiny be scanned openly in the face of all the 
world; to what purpose can it be to juggle and 
baffle for a time ; for a few days (perhaps for a few 
minutes) to abuse or to amuse those about us with 
crafty dissimulation or deceit? Is it worth the 
pains to devise plausible shifts, which shall in- 
stantly, we know, be detected and defeated; to 
bedaub foul designs with a fair varnish, which 
death will presently wipe off; to be dark and 
cloudy in our proceedings, whenas a clear day 
(that will certainly dispel all darkness and scatter 
all mists) is breaking in upon us; to make vizors 
for our faces, and cloaks for our actions, whenas 
we must very shortly be exposed, perfectly naked 
and undisguised, in our true colours, to the general 
view of angels and men ? Heaven sees at present 
what we think and do, and our conscience cannot 
be wholly ignorant or insensible; nor can earth 
itself be long unacquainted therewith. Is it not 
much better, and more easy (since it requires no 
pains or study) to act ourselves, than to accom- 
modate ourselves to other unbeseeming and undue 
parts; to be upright in our intentions, consistent 
in our discourses, plain in our dealings, following 
the single and uniform guidance of our reason and 
conscience, than to shuffle and shift, wandering after 
the various, uncertain, and inconstant opinions or 
humours of men ? What matter is it, what clothes 
we wear, what garb we appear in, during this 
posture of travel and sojourning here; what for 

The Consideration of our latter End. 299 

the present we go for; how men esteem us, what seem. 
they think of our actions? St Paul at least did 

not much stand upon it; for, With me, said he, it iCor.iv.3. 
is a very small thing (e\dx"TTov, the least thing that 
can come under consideration) to he judged of you, 
or of human day, (that is, of this present, transitory, 
fallible, reversible judgment of men). If we mean 
well and do righteously, our conscience will at 
present satisfy us, and the divine (unerring and 
impartial) sentence will hereafter acquit us; no 
unjust or uncharitable censure shall prejudice us: 
if we entertain base designs, and deal unrighteously, 
as our conscience will accuse and vex us here, so 
God will shortly condemn and punish us; neither 
shall the most favourable conceit of men stand us 
in stead : Every mans work shall become manifest, 1 Cor. iii. 

• - I ^ 

for the day shall declare it; because it shall be 
revealed by fire; and the fire (that is, a severe and 
strict inquiry) shall try every mans work, of what 
sort it is. I cannot insist more on this point; I 
shall only say, that, considering the brevity and 
uncertainty of our present state, the greatest sim- 
plicity may justly be deemed the truest wisdom; 
that who deceives others, doth cozen himself most ; 
that the deepest policy, used to compass or to 
conceal bad designs, will in the end appear the 
most downright folly. 

I might add to the precedent discourses, that 
philosophy itself hath commended this consider- 
ation as a proper and powerful instrument of 
virtue, reckoning the practice thereof a main 
part of wisdom q ; the greatest proficient therein in 

' Tovto e^ei 7 reXetoTijs tov tfBovs, to naaav rjfiepav cos TeXtvralav 
bie^ayuv. — M. Ant. VII. [§ 69.] 

300 The Consideration of our latter End. 

SERM. common esteem, Socrates, having defined philoso- 

— phy, or the study of wisdom, to be nothing else but 

MeXeTi; Oavdrov, The study of death*; intimating 
also, (in Plato's Phaidon,) that this study, the 
meditation of death, and preparation of his mind 
to leave this world, had been the constant and 
chief employment of his life : that likewise, accord- 
ing to experience, nothing more avails to render 
the minds of men sober and well composed, than 
such spectacles of mortality, as do impress this 
consideration upon them. For whom doth not the 
sight of a coffin, or of a grave gaping to receive a 
friend, perhaps, or an ancient acquaintance; how- 
ever, a man in nature and state altogether like 
ourselves; of the mournful looks and habits, of all 
the sad pomps and solemnities attending man unto 
his long home, by minding him of his own frail 
condition, affect with some serious, some honest, 
some wise thoughts ? And if we be reasonable 
men, we may every day supply the need of such 
occasions, by representing to ourselves the necessity 
of our soon returning to the dust; dressing in 
thought our own hearses, and celebrating our own 
funerals ; by living under the continual apprehen- 
sion and sense of our transitory and uncertain 
condition; dying daily, or becoming already dead 
unto this world. The doing which effectually being 
the gift of God, and an especial work of his grace, 
let us of him humbly implore it, saying after the 
holy Prophet, Lord, so teach us to number our days, 
that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Amen. 

r [Plat. Phsed. 81 a.] 



Psalm CXIX. 60. 
I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments. 
HPHIS Psalm (no less excellent in virtue than serm. 


- 1 - large in bulk) containeth manifold reflections '_ 

upon the nature, the properties, the adjuncts and 
effects of God's law; many sprightly ejaculations 
about it, (conceived in different forms of speech; 
some in way of petition, some of thanksgiving, 
some of resolution, some of assertion or aphorism ;) 
many useful directions, many zealous exhortations 
to the observance of it; the which are not ranged 
in any strict order, but (like a variety of fair flowers 
and wholesome herbs in a wide field) do with a 
grateful confusion lie dispersed, as they freely did 
spring up in the heart, or were suggested by the 
devout spirit of him who indited the Psalm ; whence 
no coherence of sentences being designed, we may 
consider any one of them absolutely, or singly by 

Among them, that which I have picked out for 
the subject of my discourse, implieth an excellent 
rule of practice, authorized by the Psalmist's ex- 
ample: it is propounded in way of devotion or 
immediate address to God; unto whose infallible 

302 The Danger and Mischief 

seem, knowledge his conscience maketh an appeal con- 
X LIIL cerning his practice ; not as boasting thereof, but as 
praising God for it, unto whose gracious instruction 
and succour he frequently doth ascribe all his per- 
formances : but the manner of propounding I shall 
not insist upon; the rule itself is, that speedily, 
without an}^ procrastination or delay, we should 
apply ourselves to the observance of God's com- 
mandments; the practice of which rule it shall be 
my endeavour to recommend and press. 

It is a common practice of men that are engaged 
in bad courses, which their own conscience dis- 
cerneth and disapproveth, to adjourn the reforma- 
tion of their lives to a further time, so indulging 
themselves in the present commission of sin, that 
yet they would seem to purpose and promise them- 
selves hereafter to repent and take up a ; few resolve 
to persist finally in an evil way, or despair of being 
one day reclaimed ; but immediately and effectually 
to set upon it, many deem unseasonable or need- 
less ; it will, they presume, be soon enough to begin 
to-morrow, or next day, a month or a year hence, 
when they shall find more commodious opportunity, 
or shall prove better disposed thereto : in the mean- 
Prov. vi. time with Solomon's sluggard, Yet, say they, a little 
sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands: 
let us but neglect this duty, let us but satisfy this 
appetite, let us but enjoy this bout of pleasure; 
hereafter, God willing, we mean to be more careful, 
we hope that we shall become more sober : so, like 

u Recognosco singulos, considera univorsos ; nullius non vita 

spectat in crastinum Non onira vivunt, sod victuri sunt. — Sen. 

Ep. slv [12.] 

Victuros agimus semper, ncc vivimus unquam. — 

Manil. [Astronom. iv. r>.] 


of delaying Repentance. 303 

bad debtors, when our conscience dunneth us, we seem. 

always mean, we always promise to pay; if she 
will stay a while, she shall, we tell her, be satisfied ; 
or, like vain spendthrifts, we see our estate fly, yet 
presume that it will hold out, and at length we shall 
reserve enough for our use. Eis aipiov ra (nrovlcua, 
Let serious business stay till the morrow , was a 
saying that cost dear to him who said it ; yet we in 
our greatest concerns follow him. 

But how fallacious, how dangerous, and how 
mischievous this manner of proceeding is ; how 
much better and more advisable it is, after the 
example propounded in our text, speedily to betake 
ourselves unto the discharge of our debt and duty 
to God, the following considerations will plainly 

i We may consider, that the observance of 
God's commandments (an observance of them pro- 
ceeding from an habitual disposition of mind, in a 
constant tenor of practice) is our indispensable duty, 
our main concernment, our only way to happiness; 
the necessary condition of our attaining salvation; 
that alone which can procure God's love and favour 
toward us ; that unto which all real blessings here, 
and all bliss hereafter, are inseparably annexed: 
Fear God, and keep his commandments, for this is Ecoies. xi 
the whole duty of man; (the whole duty, the whole I3 ' 
design, the whole perfection, the sum of our wisdom, 
and our happiness). If thou wilt enter into life, keep Matt, xix 
the commandments: The righteous Lord loveth right- p^' xi 
eousness; his countenance doth behold the upright : Vrov - xv - 

b Plwt. inPelop. [Opp. Tom. it. p. 516, Ed. Steph.] 

Non est, crede mihi, sapientis dicere, Vivam. — 

Mart. i. 16. [11.] 

304 The Danger and Mischief 

serm. God will render to every man according to his works: 
these are oracles indubitably clear, and infallibly 

MaTt. v. 6 ' certain ; these are immovable terms of justice be- 
i 8 \ ■ tween God and man, which never will, never can 

.Luke xvi. 

'7- . be relaxed; being grounded on the immutable 
15.' nature of God, and eternal reason of things : if God 

had not decreed, if he had not said these things, 
they would yet assuredly be true ; for it is a foul 
contradiction to reason, that a man ever should 
please God without obeying him; it is a gross 
absurdity in nature, that a man should be happy 
without being good; wherefore all the wit in the 
world cannot devise a way, all the authority upon 
earth (yea, I dare say, even in heaven itself) cannot 
establish a condition, beside faithful observance of 
God's law, that can save, or make us happy: from 
it there can be no valid dispensation, without it 
there can be no effectual absolution, for it there 
can be no acceptable commutation; nor, in defect 
thereof, will any faith, any profession, any trick or 
pretence whatever, avail or signify anything : what- 
ever expedient to supply its room superstition, 
mistake, craft, or presumption may recommend, 
we shall, relying thereon, be certainly deluded. If 
therefore, we mean to be saved, (and are we so wild 
as not to mean it?) if we do not renounce felicity, 
(and do we not then renounce our wits?) to become 
virtuous, to proceed in a course of obedience, is a 
work that necessarily must be performed : and why 
then should we not instantly undertake it ? where- 
fore do we demur or stick at it? how can we at all 
rest quiet, while an affair of so vast importance 
lieth upon our hands, or until our mind be freed 
of all uncertainty and suspense about it? Were a 

of delaying Repentance. 305 

probable way suggested to us of acquiring great seem. 

wealth, honour, or pleasure, should we not quickly 

run about it? could we contentedly sleep, till we 
had brought the business to a sure or hopeful issue ? 
and why with less expedition or urgency should 
we pursue the certain means of our present security 
and comfort, of our final salvation and happiness? 
In doing so, are we not strangely inconsistent with 
ourselves ? 

Again, disobedience is the certain road to 
perdition; that which involveth us in guilt and 
condemnation, that which provoketh God's wrath 
and hatred against us, that which assuredly will 
throw us into a state of eternal sorrow and wretch- 
edness: The foolish shall not stand in God's sight; P s - v - 5- 
he hateth all the workers of iniquity: If ye do not Luke xiii - 
repent, ye shall perish: The wicked shall be turned Ps. ix. 17. 
into hell, and all the people that forget God: The 1001 '-^-^ 
unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God; 
The wicked shall go into everlasting punishment: Matt. xxv. 
these are denunciations no less sure than severe, 
from that mouth, which is never opened in vain; 
from the execution whereof there can be no shelter 
or refuge. And what wise man, what man in his 
right senses, would for one minute stand obnoxious 
to them? Who, that anywise tendereth his own 
welfare, would move one step forward in so perilous 
and destructive a course? the further in which he 
proceedeth, the more he discosteth from happiness, 
the nearer he approacheth to ruin. 

In other cases common sense prompteth men 
to proceed otherwise; for who, having rendered 
one his enemy that far overmatcheth him, and at 
whose mercy he standeth, will not instantly sue to 

B. S. VOL. ITT. 20 

306 The Danger and Mischief 

XLin ' ^ e reconc iled ? Who, being seized by a pernicious 

-disease, will not haste to seek a cure? Who, being 

fallen into the jaws of a terrible danger, will not 
nimbly leap out thence? And such plainly is our 
case : while we persist in sin, we live in enmity and 
defiance with the Almighty, who can at his pleasure 
crush us ; we lie under a fatal plague, which, if we 
do not seasonably repent, will certainly destroy us ; 
we incur the most dreadful of all hazards, abiding 
in the confines of death and destruction; God 
frowning at us, guilt holding us, hell gaping for 
us : every sinner is, according to the Wise Man's 
Prov.xxiii. expression, As he that lieth down in the midst of 
4 ' the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. 

And he that is in such a case, is he not mad or 
senseless, if he will not forthwith labour to swim 
out thence, or make all speed to get down into a 
safer place? Can any man with comfort lodge in a 
condition so dismally ticklish? 

2 We may consider, that, in order to our 
final welfare, we have much work to despatch, the 
which requireth as earnest care and painful indus- 
try, so a competent long time; which, if we do not 
presently fall on, may be wanting, and thence our 
work be left undone, or imperfect. To conquer 
and correct bad inclinations, to render our sensual 
appetites obsequious to reason, to compose our pas- 
sions into a right and steady order, to cleanse our 
souls from vanity, from perverseness, from sloth, 
from all vicious distempers, and in their room to 
implant firm habits of virtue; to get a clear know- 
ledge of our duty, with a ready disposition to 
perform it; in fine, to season our minds with holy 
affections, qualifying us for the presence of God, 

of delaying Repentance. 307 

and conversation with the blessed spirits above; ^^m. 

these are things that must be done, but cannot be 

done in a trice; it is not dictum factum, as soon 
done as said; but 'Yivoixovri epyov ayaOov, A patient ^0™- i-7- 
continuance in well-doing, is needful to achieve it; 
for it no time can be redundant; the longest life 
can hardly be sufficient: Art is long, and life is 
short, may be an aphorism in divinity as well as 
in physic ; the art of living well, of preserving our 
soul's health, and curing its distempers, requireth no 
less time to compass it than any other art or science. 
Virtue is not a mushroom, that springeth up of 
itself in one night when we are asleep, or regard it 
not c ; but a delicate plant, that groweth slowly and 
tenderly, needing much pains to cultivate it, much 
care to guard it, much time to mature it, in our un- 
toward soil, in this world's unkindly weather : hap- 
piness is a thing too precious to be purchased at an 
easy rate ; heaven is too high to be come at without 
much climbing; the crown of bliss is a prize too 
noble to be won without a long and a tough con- 
flict. Neither is vice a spirit that will be conjured 
down by a charm, or with a presto driven away; 
it is not an adversary that can be knocked down at 
a blow, or despatched with a stab. Whoever shall 
pretend, that, at any time, easily, with a celerity, by 
a kind of legerdemain, or by any mysterious knack, 
a man may be settled in virtue, or converted from 
vice, common experience abundantly will confute 
him d ; which sheweth, that a habit otherwise 

c Oil Ka0evbov<riv rjiuv -^oprjyei fioqdeiav 6 ©eoj, dWa ttovov- 
ixhois. — Chrys. in Ep. Orat. xxi. [Opp. Tom. in. p. 877. J 

O quam istud parvum putant, quibus tam facile videtur ! — 
Quint, in. [2. 3.] 


308 The Danger and Mischief 

serm. (setting miracles aside) cannot be produced or 

" 1 destroyed, than by a constant exercise of acts 

suitable or opposite thereto; and that such acts 
cannot be exercised without voiding all impedi- 
ments, and framing all principles of action, (such 
as temper of body, judgment of mind, influence of 
custom,) to a compliance; that who by temper is 
peevish or choleric, cannot, without mastering that 
temper, become patient or meek; that who from 
vain opinions is proud, cannot, without considering 
away those opinions, prove humble; that who by 
custom is grown intemperate, cannot, without 
weaning himself from that custom, come to be 
sober; that who, from the concurrence of a sorry 
nature, fond conceits, mean breeding, and scurvy 
usage, is covetous, cannot, without draining all 
those sources of his fault, be turned into liberal. 
The change of our mind is one of the greatest 
alterations in nature, which cannot be compassed 
in any way, or within any time we please; but it 
must proceed on leisurely and regularly, in such 
order, by such steps, as the nature of things doth 
permit; it must be wrought by a resolute and 
laborious perseverance; by a watchful application 
of mind in voiding prejudices, in waiting for advan- 
tages, in attending to all we do ; by forcible wrest- 
ing our nature from its bent, and swimming against 
the current of impetuous desires; by a patient 
disentangling ourselves from practices most agree- 
able and familiar to us; by a wary fencing with 
temptations, by long struggling with manifold 
oppositions and difficulties; whence the holy scrip- 
ture termeth our practice a warfare, wherein we 
are to fight many a bloody battle with most 

of delaying Repentance. 309 

redoubtable foes ; a combat, which must be managed |erm. 

with our best skill and utmost might : a race, which — - 

we must pass through with incessant activity and 

If therefore we mean to be good or to be happy, 
it behoveth us to lose no time ; to be presently up 
at our great task; to snatch all occasions, to em- 
brace all means incident of reforming our hearts 
and lives. As those, who have a long journey to 
go, do take care to set out early, and in their way 
make good speed, lest the night overtake them 
before they reach their home 6 ; so it being a great 
way from hence to heaven, seeing we must pass 
over so many obstacles, through so many paths of 
duty, before we arrive thither, it is expedient to 
set forward as soon as can be, and to proceed with 
all expedition ; the longer we stay, the more time 
we shall need, and the less we shall have. 

3 We may consider, that no future time which 
we can fix upon will be more convenient than the 
present is for our reformation. Let us pitch on 
what time we please, we shall be as unwilling and 
unfit to begin as we are now; we shall find in 
ourselves the same indispositions, the same averse- 
ness, or the same listlessness toward it, as now: 
there will occur the like hardships to deter us, and 
the like pleasures to allure us from our duty; 
objects will then be as present, and will strike as 
smartly upon our senses ; the case will appear just 
the same, and the same pretences for delay will 
obtrude themselves; so that we shall be as apt 

'AX\* aye vvv 1op.ev Si) yap fiep.0\a>Ke ^dXiora 
Hfiap' arap ra^a toi ttotI ecrnepa piyiov ecrrai. — 

Horn. Od. xvn. [190. J 

310 The Danger and Mischief 

skrm. then as now to prorogue the business. We shall 

■- — say then, to-morrow I will mend ; and when that 

morrow cometh, it will be still to-movrow, and 
so the morrow will prove endless f If, like the 
simple rustic, (who stayed by the river-side wait- 
ing till it had done running, so that he might pass 
dry-foot over the channel,) we do conceit that the 
sources of sin (bad inclinations within, and strong 
temptations abroad) will of themselves be spent, or 
fail, we shall find ourselves deluded 8 . If ever we 
come to take up, we must have a beginning with 
some difficulty and trouble; we must courageously 
break through the present with all its enchant- 
ments; we must undauntedly plunge into the cold 
stream; we must rouse ourselves from our bed of 
sloth; we must shake off that brutish improvidence, 
which detaineth us; and why should we not assay 
it now? There is the same reason now that ever 
we can have; yea, far more reason now; for 
if that we now begin, hereafter at any deter- 
minate time, some of the work will be done, what 
remaineth will be shorter and easier to us h . Nay, 

4 We may consider, that the more we defer, 
the more difficult and painful our work must needs 

f Cras hoc fiet. Idem eras fiet, &c. — 

Pers. Sat. v. [66.] 
Qui non est hodie, cras minus aptus erit. — 

Ovid. [Rem. Am. 94.] 
K Qui recte vivendi prorogat horam, 

Rusticus expectat dum defluat amnis ; at ille 
Labitur, et labetur in omno volubilis sevum. — 

Hor Ep. i. 2. [41.] 
Ei fuv ovv AvtnreXiJy r) vnip6t<ris icrriv, rj navreX^s anoo-Tao-is 

avrrjs earl Xv(riTeke<rTepa. Epict. Diss. IV. 12. [3.] 

For the same reason we put it off, we should put it away. If 
it bo good at all, it is good at present. 

of delaying Repentance. 311 

prove; every day will both enlarge our task and serm. 

"l • • • i i *t • n • * fv • • -A-.LjJ.-LJ.. 

dimmish our ability to perform it 1 Sin is never 

at a stay; if we do not retreat from it, we shall 
advance in it; and the further on we go, the more 
we have to come back; every step we take forward 
(even before we can return hither, into the state 
wherein we are at present) must be repeated ; all 
the web we spin must be unravelled; we must 
vomit up all we take in: which to do we shall 
find very tedious and grievous. 

Vice, as it groweth in age, so it improveth in 
stature and strength; from a puny child it soon 
waxeth a lusty stripling, then riseth to be a sturdy 
man, and after a while becometh a massy giant, 
whom we shall scarce dare to encounter, whom we 
shall be very hardly able to vanquish; especially 
seeing, that as it groweth taller and stouter, so we 
shall dwindle and prove more impotent : for it 
feedeth upon our vitals, and thriveth by our decay ; 
it waxeth mighty by stripping us of our best forces, 
by enfeebling our reason, by perverting our will, by 
corrupting our temper, by debasing our courage, 
by seducing all our appetites and passions to a 
treacherous compliance with itself: every day our 
mind groweth more blind, our will more resty, our 
spirit more faint, our appetites more fierce, our 
passions more headstrong and untameable k ; the 
power and empire of sin do strangely by degrees 
encroach, and continually get ground upon us, till 

Ilapa to crrjixepov afiaprrjdev els TaXKa ^eipoj/ dvayKr/ croi ra irpay- 
p.ara e X eiv — Id. ibid. fl.J 

Falsi s opinionibus tanto quisque inseritur magis> quanto 
magis in eis familiariusque volutatur.— Aug. [Ep. iv. Opp. Tom. n. 
col. 6 E.J 

312 The Danger and Mischief 

serm. it hath quite subdued and enthralled us. First we 

— learn to bear it; then we come to like it; by and 

by we contract a friendship with it ; then we dote 
upon it; at last we become enslaved to it in a 
bondage, which we shall hardly be able or willing 
to shake off; when not only our necks are fitted 
to the yoke, our hands are manacled, and our 
feet shackled thereby; but our heads and hearts 
do conspire in a base submission thereto: when 
vice hath made such impression on us, when this 
pernicious weed hath taken so deep root in our 
mind, will, and affections, it will demand an ex- 
tremely toilsome labour to extirpate it. 

Indeed, by continuance in sin, the chief means 
(afforded by nature, or by grace) of restraining or 
reducing us from it, are either cut off, or enervated 
and rendered ineffectual. 

Natural modesty, while it lasteth, is a curb from 

doing ill 1 ; men in their first deflexions from virtue 

are bashful and shy ; out of regard to other men's 

opinion, and tenderness of their own honour, they 

are afraid or ashamed to transgress plain rules of 

duty : but in process this disposition weareth out ; 

by little and little they arrive to that character of 

Ezek.ii.4; the degenerate Jews, whom the Prophets call im- 

isai'. xiviii. pudent children, having a brow of brass, and faces 

j'er. v. 3. harder than a rock ; so that they commit sin with 

^ rov. xm. p en f ac( ^ an( j | n | 3roa( j ^ a ^ w ithout any mask, 

without a blush ; they despise their own reputation, 

1 Meyiarov npbs apeTtjV /3o)y%ia 17 a'Ms. — Greg. Naz. [Or. XXXII. 
Oj.p. Tom. 1. p. 682 A.] 

Nam fjuis 
Peccandi fincm posuit sibi? quando recopit 
Ejoctum semel attrita de fionte ruborem? — 

Juv. Sat. [xm. 240.] 

of delaying Repentance. 313 

and defy all censure of others; they outface and serm. 

outbrave the world, till at length, with prodigious _ - 

insolence, they come to boast of wickedness, and 

glory in their shame, as an instance of high courage PinLiii. 19. 

and special gallantry. 

Conscience is a check to beginners in sin, re- 
claiming them from it, and rating them for it : but 
this in long standers becometh useless, either failing 
to discharge its office, or assaying it to no purpose ; 
having often been slighted, it will be weary of 
chiding; or, if it be not wholly dumb, we shall be 
deaf to its reproof : as those, who live by cataracts 
or downfalls of water, are, by continual noise, so 
deafened, as not to hear or mind it ; so shall we in 
time grow senseless, not regarding the loudest peals 
and rattlings of our conscience" 1 

The heart of a raw novice in impiety is some- Neh.ix.29. 
what tender and soft, so that remorse can pierce xxxvi. "3. 
and sting it ; his neck is yielding and sensible, Dan ' v ' 20 ' 
so that the yoke of sin doth gall it : but in stout 
proficients the heart becometh hard and stony, 
the neck stiff and brawny; (An iron sinew, as the isai. xiviii. 
Prophet termeth it ;) so that they do not feel or 4 ' 
resent any thing" ; but are like those of whom St 
Paul speaketh, O'/nve? a-n->?\7»7/(OT6s, Who being past Eph.iv.19. 
feeling all sorrow or smart, have given themselves 
over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness 
with greediness. 

When first we nibble at the bait, or enter into 
bad courses, our reason doth contest and remon- 
strate against it, faithfully representing to us the 

m SPu^i) yap ana£ dfiaprias yevcrafxevr] icai dva\y^T<os SiaTedelcra 
TroWrjv irape^ft r<3 j/ocn;/urri rr\v rrpoa-8>]Kr]v. &c. — Chrys. Orat. LXIV. 
Opp. Tom. v. p. 453.] 

n Quo quis pejus se habet, minus sentit. — Sen. Ep. liii. [7.J 

314 The Danger and Mischief 

serm. folly, the ugliness, the baseness, the manifold ill 

1 consequences of sinning; but that, by continuance, 

is muffled, so as not to discern, or muzzled, so as 
not to declare; yea, often is so debauched as to 
excuse, to avow, and maintain, yea, to applaud and 
extol our miscarriages. 

For a time a man retaineth some courage, and 
a hope that he may repent; but progress in sin 
dispiriteth and casteth into despair, whether God 
be placable, whether himself be corrigible : an 
apprehension concerning the length of the way 
or the difficulty of the work, discourageth ; and 
despondency rendereth him heartless and careless 
to attempt it. There is no man that hath heard of 
God, who hath not at first some dread of offending 
him, and some dissatisfaction in transgressing his 
will; it appearing to his mind, not yet utterly 
blinded and depraved, a desperate thing to brave 
his irresistible power, an absurd thing to thwart 
his infallible wisdom, a detestable thing to abuse 
his immense goodness : but obstinacy in sin doth 
quash this conscientious awe; so that at length, 
Ps. x. 4; God is not in all his thoughts; The fear of God is not 

xxxvi. 1 

before his eyes; the wrath of the Almighty seemeth 
a bugbear, the fiercest menaces of Religion sound 
but as rattles to him. 

As for the gentle whispers and touches of divine 
grace, the monitory dispensations of Providence, 
the good advices and wholesome reproofs of friends, 
with the like means of reclaiming sinners; these 
jer.xiviii. to persons settled on their lees, or fixed in bad 
Zeph.i.12. custom, are but as gusts of wind brushing an old 
oak, or as waves dashing on a rock, without at all 
shaking or stirring it. 

of delaying Repentance. 315 

Now when any person is come to this pass, it sek.m. 

. . XL 111. 

must be hugely difficult to reduce him ; to retrieve 

a defloured modesty, to quicken a jaded conscience, 
to supple a callous heart, to resettle a baffled 
reason, to rear a dejected courage, to recover a 
soul miserably benumbed and broken, to its former 
vigour and integrity, can be no easy matter. 

The diseases of our soul, no less than those of 
our body, when once they are inveterate, they are 
become near incurable; the longer we forbear to 
apply due remedy, the more hard their cure will 
prove : if we let them proceed far, we must, ere we 
can be rid of them, undergo a course of physic very 
tedious and offensive to us ; many a rough purge, 
many a sore phlebotomy, many an irksome sweat 
we must endure. Yea, further, 

5 We may consider, that by delaying to 
amend, to do it may become quite impossible; it 
may be so in the nature of the thing, it may be so 
by the will of God : the thing may become naturally 
impossible ; for vice by custom may pass into nature, 
and prove so congenial, as if it were born with us ; 
so that we shall propend to it, as a stone falleth 
down, or as a spark flieth upward : by soaking in 
voluptuousness we may be so transformed into 
brutes, by steeping in malice so converted into 
fiends, that we necessarily shall act like creatures 
of that kind, into which we are degenerated; and 
then nowise, without a downright miracle, are we 

Sera medicina paratur 

Cum mala per longas convaluere moras. — 

Ovid. [Kem. Am. 91.] 
Paov yup an dpxqs ivbovvai KaKUi, Kal irpoaiova-av diacpvye^v, t] 
irpopatvovcrav dvaicotyai. — Greg. Naz. [Orat XXXII. Opp. Tom. I. 
p. 598 c] 

316 The Danger and Mischief 

serm. capable of being reformed p How long, saith Solo- 

X - — mon, wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou ar - se Qut Q j. ^ s i eerp f ^ e may be so often called 

on ; and it is not easy to awaken us, when we are 
E P h. ii. i. got into a spiritual slumber; but when we are dead 
i TimlVe. in trespasses and sin, so that all breath of holy- 
affection is stopped, and no spiritual pulse from our 
heart doth appear; that all sense of duty is lost, all 
appetite to good doth fail, no strength or activity 
to move in a good course doth exert itself, that 
our good complexion is dissolved, and all our finer 
spirits are dissipated, that our mind is quite crazed, 
and all its powers are shattered or spoiled; when 
thus, I say, we are spiritually dead, how can we 
raise ourselves, what beneath omnipotency can 
effect it? As a stick, when once it is dry and stiff, 
you may break it, but you can never bend it into 
a straighter posture; so doth the man become in- 
corrigible, who is settled and stiffened in vice q . The 
stain of habitual sin may sink in so deep, and so 
thoroughly tincture all our soul, that we may be 
jei xiii. 23. like those people of whom the Prophet saith, Can 
the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his 
spots f Then may ye do good, that are accustomed 
to do evil. Such an impossibility may arise from 
nature; one greater and more insuperable may 
come from God. 

To an effectual repentance, the succour of divine 

grace is necessary; but that is arbitrarily dispensed; 

John Hi. 8. Tlie Spirit bloweth where it listeth; yet it listeth 

p 'Eneidav fls (ppeviriv cWfo-oires AaKTi£co<n Kal daKvaxri rovs /3ov- 
Xofievovs a7raAAa£ai rrjs appaxTTias avroiis, tot* voaovaiv aviara. — 
Chrys. in Bcibyl. Orat. 11. [Opp. Tom. v. p. 454.] 

q Frangas enim citius quam corrigas quic in pravuin induru- 
rrunt. — Quintil. 1 3 [12;] 

of delaying Repentance. 317 

wisely, with regard both to the past behaviour and ^j^- 

present capacities of men; so that to such who 

have abused it, and to such who will not treat it 
well, it shall not be imparted. And can we be 
well assured, can we reasonably hope, that after 
we by our presumptuous delays have put off God, 
and dallied with his grace; after that he long in 
vain hath waited to be gracious ; after that he hath i?ai. xxx. 
endured so many neglects, and so many repulses 
from us ; after that we frequently have slighted his 
open invitations, and smothered his kindly motions 
in us; in short, after we so unworthily have mis- 
used his goodness and patience, that he further 
will vouchsafe his grace to us? When we have for- Heb. x. 29; 

. . V1 - 4- 

feited it, when we have rejected it, when we have 
spurned 1 and driven it away, can we hope to re- 
cover it \ 

There is a time, a season, a dav, allotted to us ; Luke xix - 

. . J . 42, 44- 

our day, it is termed, a day of salvation, the season sCor.yi.?. 

,» ... i i • i • s~i i Heb. iii. 

01 our visitation, an acceptable time; wherein God 13. 

freely doth exhibit grace, and presenteth his mercy ° n 1X ' 4 ' 

to us : if we let this day slip, The night cometh, when Luke xix ' 

no man can work; when the things belonging to 

our peace will be hidden from our eyes; when (as 

the Prophet expresseth it), We shall grope for the Isai - lix - 

wall like the blind, and stumble at noonday as in 

the night, and be in desolate places as dead men: 

after that day is spent, and that comfortable light 

is set, a dismal night of darkness, of cold, of dis- 

consolateness, will succeed; when God being; wearv Jer - xv - 6 - 

pi • -n ni 1 , , "■ , Mai. ii. 17. 

ol bearing with men, doth utterly desert them, and isai. i. i 4 ; 
delivereth them ovqg to a reprobate mind; when v "' ' 3 ' 
subtracting his gracious direction and assistance, 

To nvevna rrjs x"P 1 tos ivvfipicras- Heb. X. 29. 

318 The Danger and Mischief 

seem. He qiveth them over to their own hearts' lusts, and to 

YT TTT & - 

walk in their own counsels; when they are brought 

Rom. i. 24, to complain wit i a t k oge i n the Prophet, O Lord, 

Ps. lxxxi. w ^ fagf. i j l0U ma( % e us t err from thy ways, and 

isai. lxiii. hardened our heart from thy fear? when, like 

Eom. ix. Pharaoh, they survive only as objects of God's 

justice, or occasions to glorify his power; when, 

Heb. xii. like Esau, they cannot find a place of repentance, 

although they seek it carefully with tears; when, 

Matt. xxv. as to the foolish loitering virgins, the door of mercy 

Lukexiii. is shut upon them; when the master of the house 

25 ' doth rise and shut the door, when that menace of 

Prov. i. 28, divine wisdom cometh to be executed ; They shall 

call upon me, hut I will not answer; they shall seek 

me early, hut they shall not find me; for that they 

hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the 

Lord. And if, neglecting our season and present 

means 8 , we once fall into this state, then is our 

case most deplorable ; we are dead men irreversibly 

doomed, and only for a few moments reprieved 

Rom. ix. from the stroke of final vengeance ; We are vessels 

of wrath fitted up (or made up) for destruction; 

KarrjpTKjfxeva ets dwwXeiav', by a fatal blindness and 

obduration sealed up to ruin ; we are like the Terra 

Heb. vi. 7, damnata, That earth (in the Apostle) which drinking 

up the rain that cometh oft upon it, and hearing 

thorns and hriars, is rejected, and is nigh unto 

cursing, and whose end is to he hurned. 

It is true, that God is ever ready, upon our 
true conversion, to receive us into favour; that 
his arms are always open to embrace a sincere 

Ezek. xviii. penitent ; that he hath declared, Whenever a wicked 


s Seek ye the Lord, when he may be found, call ye upon him, 
while lie is near. — Isai. lv. 6. 

of delaying Repentance. 319 

man turneth from his wickedness, and doeth that serm. 


which is right, he shall save his soul alive; that if - 

we do wash ourselves, make us clean, put away the Isa - *• l6 - 
evil of our doings, and cease to do evil, then, 
Although our sins be as scarlet, they shall be white ib. 18. 
as snow; though they be like crimson, they shall be as 
wool; that if we rend our hearts, and turn unto the Joel a. 13. 
Lord, he is gracious and merciful, and will repent 
of the evil; that God is good and ready to forgive, Ps. lxxxvi. 
and plenteous in mercy unto all that call upon him; 
that whenever a prodigal son, with humble con- 
fession and hearty contrition for his sin, doth arise Luke xv. 
and go to his father, he will embrace him tenderly, 
and entertain him kindly; that even a profane 
apostate 1 , and a bloody oppressor, as Manasses, a 
lewd strumpet, as Magdalene, a notable thief, as he 
upon the cross, a timorous renouncer, as St Peter, 
a furious persecutor, as St Paul, a stupid idolator, 
as all the heathen world, when the Gospel came to 
them, was, the most heinous sinner that ever hath 
been, or can be imagined to be, if he be disposed 
to repent, is capable of mercy; those declarations 
and promises are infallibly true; those instances 
peremptorily do evince, that repentance is never 
superannuated ; that if we can turn at all, we shall 
not turn too late ; that Posnitentia nunquam sera, 
modo seria, is an irrefragable rule. Yet neverthe- 
less delay is very unsafe ; for what assurance can 
we have, that God hereafter will enable us to 
perform those conditions of bewailing our sins, and 

* Vid. Chrys. ad Theod. n. Judas (saith he there) was capable 
of pardon. [ Eya> yap, el Ka\ irapahol-ov to Xeyofievov, ov§e exeivo to 
ap.apTrjpa emotfu av p.ei£ov elvai Trjs ano Trjs ptTavoias fiorjdeias eyyii/- 
op.€VTjs fin'iv. — Opp. Tom. vi. p. 68.] 

320 The Danger and Mischief 

seem, forsaking them? Have we not cause rather to fear, 

XLIII. & • i 'J.-L1 i i 

that he will chastise our presumption by withhold- 
ing his grace? For although God faileth not to 
yield competent aids to persons who have not 

Rom. ii. 4 . despised his goodness and longsuffering, that lead- 
eth them to repentance; yet he that wilfully or 
wantonly loitereth away the time, and squandereth 
the means allowed him; who refuseth to come 
when God calleth, yea wooeth and courteth him 
to repentance, how can he pretend to find such 
favour ? 

We might add, that supposing God in super- 
abundance of mercy might be presumed never to 
withhold his grace; yet seeing his grace doth not 
work by irresistible compulsion; seeing the worse 
qualified we are, the more apt we shall be to cross 
and defeat its operation ; seeing that we cannot 
hope, that hereafter we shall be more fit than now 
to comply with it; yea seeing we may be sure, 
that, after our hearts are hardened by perseverance 
in sin, we shall be more indisposed thereto ; we by 
delay of repentance do not only venture the for- 
feiture of divine grace, but the danger of abusing 
it, which heinously will aggravate our guilt, and 
hugely augment our punishment. 

We should do well therefore most seriously to 

Heb.m.13. regard the Apostle's admonition; Exhort one an- 
other to-day, while it is called to-day, lest any of 
you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Now 
that we find ourselves invited to repent ; now that 
we apprehend so much reason for it; now that wc 
feel our hearts somewhat inclined thereto; now 
that we have time in our hands, and are not barred 
from hopes of mercy ; now that it is not extremely 

of delaying Repentance. 321 

difficult, or not absolutely impossible, let us in serm. 

God's name lay hold on the occasion, let us speedily — 

and earnestly set upon the work. Further yet, 

6 We should consider, that we are mortal and 
frail, and thence any designs of future reformation 
may be dipt off, or intercepted by death; which is 
always creeping toward us, and may, for all we 
can tell, be very near at hand. You say you will 
repent to-morrow: but are you sure you shall have 
a morrow to repent in u ? Have you an hour in 
your hand, or one minute at your disposal ? Have 
you a lease to shew for any term of life ? Can you 
claim, or reckon upon, the least portion of time 
without his leave, who bestoweth life, and dealeth 
out time, and ordereth all things as he pleaseth? 
Can you anywise descry the just measure of your; 
days, or the bounds of your appointed time, with- 1. ' 
out a special revelation from him, in whose hands Ps. xxxix. 
is your breath; and with whom alone the number Dan. V. 23. 
of your months is registered? Boast not thyself?™, 
of to-morrow; for thou hnowest not what a day may 
bring forth, saith the Wise Man ; boast not of it, 
that is, do not pretend it to be at thy disposal x , 
presume not upon any thing that may befall there- 
in; for whilst thou presumest thereon, may it not 
be said unto thee, as to the rich projector in the 
Gospel, Thou fool, this night shall thy soul be required Luke xii. 
of thee? Doth not, secluding hidden decrees, every 2 °' 
man's life hang upon a thread very slender and 
frail? Is it not subject to many diseases lurking 

u Qui poenitcnti veniam spospondit, peccanti crastinum diem 
non promisit —Greg, in Evaiig. Hom.ix. [Opp. Tom. I. col. 1479. J 

Ovk olbas ti re^erai 77 (iriovcra- fit) e7rayye\\nv ra firj an Bas. 

M. Exhort, ad Bapt. [Opp. Tom. 11. p. 114 D.] 

B. S. VOL. HI. 21 

322 The Danger and Mischief 

serm. within, and to a thousand accidents flying about 
XLIIL us ? How many, that might have promised them- 
selves as fair scope as we can, have been unexpect- 
edly snapt away ! How many have been cropt in the 
flower of their age and vigour of their strength! 
Doth not every day present experiments of sudden 
death ? Do we not continually see that observation 

Ecoies. ix. of the Preacher verified, Man hnoweth not his 
time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and 
as the birds are caught in the snare, so are the sons 
of men snared in an evil time, when it cometh sud- 
denly upon them ? Old men are ready to drop of 
themselves, and young men are easily brushed or 
shaken down, the former visibly stand upon the 
brink of eternity, the latter walk upon a bottomless 
quag, into which unawares they may slump; who 
then can anywise be secure 3, ? We are all therefore 
highly concerned to use our life, while we have it ; 
to catch the first opportunity, lest all opportunity 
forsake us ; to cut off our sinning, lest ourselves be 
cut off before it; and that the rather, because by 
lavishing, or misemploying our present time, we 
may lose the future, provoking God to bereave us 
of it : for as prolongation of time is a reward of 
piety ; as, to observance of the commandments, it is 

Prov.ui. i. promised, Length of days, and long life, and peace, 
shall be added unto thee; so being immaturely 
snatched hence is the punishment awarded to 

Ps. xxxvii. impious practice : so it is threatened, that, Evil men 
shall be cut off; that, Bloody and deceitful men shall 


lv. 23 

y Ti yap otdas, avdpcoire afiapr^aas, el ijpepas Cv a(ls * v ToiHe r<5 
j3io), Iva kcu p.travoij(Tr]s; "Oti nS^Aos 77 e£oSor aov (k tov /3ioi> 
vnap-^ei, Ka\ iv afiapria reXevr^aavTi ptravoia ovk tarai. &C. — Const. 
Ap. 11. 13. [Cotel. Pat. Apost. Tom. 1. p. 221.] 

of delaying Repentance. 323 

not live out half their days; that, God will wound ^™- 
the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such 

an one as goeth on still in his wickedness: the very 2I .' 
being unmindful of their duty is the cause why 
men are thus surprised; for, If, saith God, thou Rev. m. 3 ; 
dost not watch, I shall come upon thee as a thief 
and thou shalt not know when I come upon thee. 
And, If, saith our Lord, that servant doth say in Luke xii - 
his heart, My lord delayeth his coming, &c. the 
lord of that servant will come in a day when he 
looketh not for him, &c. 

If then it be certain, that we must render a 
strict account of all our doings here ; if, by reason 
of our frail nature and slippery state, it be uncer- 
tain when we shall be summoned thereto; if our 
negligence may abridge and accelerate the term 2 ; 
is it not very reasonable to observe those advices 
of our Lord ; Watch, for ye do not know the day, Matt. xxv. 
nor the hour, when the Son of man cometh : Take 42.' 
heed to yourselves, lest at any time your heart be 
overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and 
cares of this life, and so that day come upon you 
unawares: Let your loins be girded about, and Lute xii. 
your lamps burning, and ye yourselves like men 
that wait for your Lord? 

These considerations plainly do shew how very 
foolish, how extremely dangerous and destructive 
the procrastinating our reformation of life is : there 
are some others of good moment, which we shall 

1 "We may consider the causes of delay in this 

Make no tarrying to turn unto the Lord, and put not off from 
day to day : for suddenly shall the wrath of the Lord come forth, and 
in thy security thou shalt be destroyed, and perish hi the day of 
vengeance. — Ecclus. v. 7. 


Mark xiii. 

324 The Danger and Mischief 

serm. case (as in all cases of moment) to be bad, and 

unworthy of a man : what can they be but either 

stupidity, that we do not apprehend the impor- 
tance of the affair; or improvidence, that we do 
not attend to the danger of persisting in sin ; or 
negligence, that we do not mind our concernments ; 
or sloth a , that keepeth us from rousing and bestir- 
ring ourselves in pursuance of what appeareth ex- 
pedient; or faint-heartedness and cowardice, that 
we dare not attempt to cross our appetite or our 
fancy? All which dispositions are very base and 
shameful. It is the prerogative of human nature 
to be sagacious in estimating the worth, and provi- 
dent in descrying the consequences of things b ; 
whereas other creatures, by impulse of sense, do 
only fix their regard on present appearances ; which 
peculiar excellency by stupidity and improvidence 
we forfeit, degenerating into brutes; and negli- 
gence of that, which we discern mainly to concern 
us, is a quality somewhat beneath those, depressing 
us below beasts, which cannot be charged with such 
a fault; sloth is no less despicable, rendering a 
man fit for nothing; nor is there any thing com- 
monly more reproachful than want of courage : so 
bad are the causes of delay. 

2 And the effects are no less unhappy; being 
disappointment, damage, trouble, and sorrow. As 
expedition (catching advantages and opportunities, 

a 'Apyias Trp6(paa-is, 17 dra/3oA/;. — Simpl. [Comment, in Epict. 
Ench. cap. lxxv.J 

b Animal hoc providum, sagax, multiplex, acutum, memor, 
plenum rationis et consilii, quern vocamus hominem. — Cic. do 
Leg. I. [7. 22] 

Homo autem, qui rationis est pai ticops, per quam conscquentia 
cernit, causas rerum videt. — Id. do Off. 1. [4. 11.] 

of delaying Repentance. 325 

keeping the spirit up in its heat and vigour, making serm. 

forcible impressions wherever it lighteth, driving on 

the current of success) doth subdue business, and 
achieve great exploits, (as by practising his motto, 
to defer nothing , Alexander did accomplish those 
mighty feats, which make such a clatter in story; 
and Csesar more by the rapid quickness and for- 
wardness of undertaking d , than by the greatness of 
courage, and skilfulness of conduct, did work out 
those enterprises, which purchased to his name so 
much glory and renown ;) so delay and slowness do 
spoil all business, do keep off success at distance 
from us; thereby opportunity is lost, and advan- 
tages slip away; our courage doth flag, and our 
spirit languisheth; our endeavours strike faintly, 
and are easily repelled; whence disappointment 
necessarily doth spring, attended with vexation 6 

3 Again, we may consider, that to set upon 
our duty is a great step toward the performance of 
it : if we can resolve well, and a little push forward^ 
we are in a fair way to despatch ; to begin, they say, 
is to have half done f ; to set out is a good part of 

c M^Sei' ava.fiaX\6p.evos. 

d Successus urgere suos: instare favori 

Numinis. — Luc. Phars. i. [148.] 

e Plerisque in rebus tarditas et procrastinatio odiosa est. — Cic. 
Philip, vi. [cap. m 7.J 

Aiei 8 a/i^oXicpyos dvrjp arrjcri irakaUi. 

Hes. [Op. et Di. 411.] 

Dum deliberamus, quando incipiendum est, incipere jam serum 
est. — Quint, xn. [6. 3.] 

f Dimidium facti, qui ccepit, habet. — 

Hor. Ep. I. [2. 40.] 

Movoi/ ap^qv (Trides ru npayfxari, Kai rrjv els tovs dyaivas e"o~o8ov 
avoigov — Chrys. ad Theod. n. Opp. Tom. vi. p. 68. 

To Svo-^eptr Kai Svo-KaropdaTov tovto eari, to Svvrjdfjvai iirifirivai. 
rrjs euroSov, Kai twv TvpoGupav ai\ra.<r6ai. rrjs peravoias, &C. — Id. 
Ibid. p. 79. 

326 The Danger and Mischief 

S xxni' ^ ie J ourne y; to rise betimes is often harder than to 

do all the day's work : entering the town is almost 

the same with taking it ; it is so in all business, it 
is chiefly so in moral practice : for if we can find 
in our hearts to take our leave of sin, if we can dis- 
engage ourselves from the witcheries of present 
allurement, if we can but get over the threshold of 
virtuous conversation, we shall find the rest beyond 
expectation smooth and expedite ; we shall discover 
such beauty in virtue, we shall taste so much sweet- 
ness in obedience, as greatly will encourage us to 
proceed therein g 

4 Again : we may consider, that our time itself 
is a gift, or a talent committed to us, for the im- 
provement whereof we are responsible no less than 
for our wealth, our power, our credit, our parts, and 
other such advantages, wherewith for the serving 
of God, and furthering our own salvation, we are 
Eph._v.i6. intrusted: To redeem the time is a precept, and of 

Col. iv. 5. i. x. j 

all precepts the most necessary to be observed ; for 
that without redeeming (that is, embracing and 
well employing) time we can do nothing well; no 
good action can be performed, no good reward can 
be procured by us : well may we be advised to take 
our best care in husbanding it, seeing justly of all 
things it may be reckoned most precious h ; its 
price being inestimable, and its loss irreparable; 
for all the world cannot purchase one moment of 
it more than is allowed us; neither can it, when 
once gone, by any means be recovered: so much 
indeed as we save thereof, so much we preserve 

g Honestas, quse principio anxia habetur ; ubi contigerit, vo- 
luptati luxuriteque est. — Vict, in Sept. Sev. [p. 266. Ed. Var. 
Anistcl. 1670.] 

11 UoKvreKfs ava\a>na. — [Diog. Laer. (Vit. Theoph.) v. 2. 10. J 

of delaying Repentance. 327 

of ourselves; and so far as we lose it, so far in serm. 

effect we slay ourselves, or deprive ourselves of 

life ; yea by misspending it we do worse than so, 
for a dead sleep, or a cessation from being, is not 
so bad as doing ill; all that while we live backward, 
or decline toward a state much worse than annihila- 
tion itself. Further, 

5 Consider, that of all time the present is ever 
the best for the purpose of amending our life 1 It 
is the only sure time, that which we have in our 
hands, and may call our own ; whereas the past time 
is irrevocably gone from us; and the future may 
never come to us : it is absolutely (reckoning from 
our becoming sensible of things, and accountable for 
our actions,) the best, as to our capacity of improv- 
ing it; 

Optima quseque dies miseris mortalibus aevi , 
Prima fugit k . 

Our best days do first pass away, was truly said ; 
the nearer to its source our life is, the purer it is 
from stain, the freer from clogs, the more suscep- 
tive of good impressions, the more vivid and brisk 
in its activity; the further we go on, especially in 
a bad course, the nearer we verge to the dregs of 
our life; the more dry, the more stiff, the more 
sluggish we grow: delay therefore doth ever steal 
away the flower of our age, leaving us the bran 
and refuse thereof. Again, 

6 If at any time we do reflect upon the time 
that hath already slipped away unprofitably from 
us, it will seem more than enough, and (if we 
consider well) it will be grievous to us to lose more ; 

1 Omnia quae ventura sunt, in incerto jacont ; protinus vive 

Son. de Vit. Brev. cap. ix. 
k Virg. Georg. in. [66.] 

328 The Danger and Mischief 

SERM. the morrow will seem too late to commence a good 
life 1 ; 'ApKeTos ht^v 6 irapeXrfkvdw's ^poi/os, 1 he time 


iPet.iv. 3 . past of our life, saith St Peter, may suffice us to 
have wrought the will of the Gentiles, or to have con- 
tinued in ill courses: more indeed it might than 
suffice ; it should be abundantly too much to have 
embezzled so large a portion of our precious and 
irreparable time : after we have slept in neglect of 

Rom. xiii. our duty, "Qpa %$*] eyepOrjvm, It is, as St Paul saith, 
now high time to awake unto a vigilant observance 
thereof: this we shall the rather do, if we consider, 

7 For ill living now we shall come hereafter 
to be sorry, if not with a wholesome contrition, yet 
with a painful regret; we shall certainly one day 
repent, if not of our sin, yet of our sinning; if not 
so as to correct for the future, yet so as to condemn 
ourselves for what is past : the consideration of our 
having sacrilegiously robbed our Maker of the time 
due to his service; of our having injuriously de- 
frauded our souls of the opportunities granted to 
secure their welfare; of our having profusely cast 
away our most precious hours of life upon vanity 
and folly, will sometime twitch us sorely. There 
is no man who doth not with a sorrowful eye re- 
view an ill-past life; who would not gladly recall 
his misspent time; mihi pro3teritos m ! O that 
God would restore my past years to me, is every 
such man's prayer, although it never was heard, 
never could be granted unto any. And what is 
more inconsistent with wisdom, than to engage 

1 Sera niinis vita est crastina: vive hodio. — 

Mart. i. 16. [12.] 
m [Virg JEn. viii. 560.] 

of delaying Repentance. 329 

ourselves upon making such ineffectual and fruit- seem. 

less wishes? What is more disagreeable to reason, _ 1 

than to do that, for which we must be forced to 
confess and call ourselves fools? What man of 
sense, for a flash of transitory pleasure, for a puff of 
vain repute, for a few scraps of dirty pelf, would 
plunge himself into such a gulf of anguish ? 

8 On the contrary, if, laying hold on occasion, 
we set ourselves to do well, reflection thereon will 
yield great satisfaction and pleasure to us; we 
shall be glad that we have done, and that our task 
is over; we shall enjoy our former life: our time 
which is so past will not yet be lost unto us; but 
rather it will be most securely ours, laid up beyond 
the reach of danger, in the repository of a good 

conscience 11 

9 Again, all our time of continuance in sin 

we do treasure up wrath, or accumulate guilt; and Rom. ii. 5. 
the larger our guilt is, the sorer must be our repen- 
tance ; the more bitter the sorrow, the more low 
the humbling, the more earnest the deprecation 
requisite to obtain pardon ; the broader and deeper 
the stain is, the more washing is needful to get it 
out; if we sin much and long, we must grieve 
answerably, or we shall be no fit objects of mercy. 

10 And whenever the sin is pardoned, yet in- 
delible marks and monuments thereof will abide. 
We shall eternally be obliged to cry peccavi: 

n Ille sapit quisquis, Posthume, vixit heri. — 

Mart. v. [58. 8.] 
Ampliat setatis spatium sibi vir bonus ; hoc est 
Viyere bis, vita posse priore frui. — 

Id. x. [23. 7.] 
Quam magna deliquimus, tam granditer defleamus. &c. — 
Cypr. de Laps. [Opp. p. 192.] 

330 TJie Danger and Mischief 

serm. although the punishment may be remitted, the 


-■ desert of it cannot be removed ; a scar from it will 

stick in our flesh, which ever will deform us; a tang 
of it will stay in our memory, which always will be 
disgustful ; we shall never reflect on our miscarriages 
without some confusion and horror p ; incessantly 
we shall be liable to that question of St Paul, 

Rom. vi. What fruit had ye of those things whereof ye are now 
ashamed? If, therefore, we could reasonably pre- 
sume, yea if we could certainly foresee, that we 
should hereafter in time repent, yet it were unad- 
visable to persist in sin, seeing it being once com- 
mitted, can never be reversed, never expunged 
from the registers of time, never dashed out from 
the tables of our mind and memory; but will 
perpetually rest as matter of doleful consideration, 

Ezek. xvi. and of tragical story to us. Then shalt thou 
remember thy ways, and be ashamed. (That thou 
mayest remember, and be confounded, and never 
open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, 
when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou 

xxxvi. 31 ; hast done, saith the Lord God.) Then shall ye re- 
member your own evil ways, and your doings that were 
not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own 
sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. 
1 1 Again, so much time as we spend in dis- 
obedience, so much of reward we do forfeit ; for 
commensurate to our works shall our rewards be ; 
the fewer our good works are in the course of our 
present life, the smaller shall be the measures of 

r Poena potest demi, culpa pcrennis erit. — 

Ovid. [Epist. 1. 1. C4.J 

'H <Tvy\<apt](ris tytvero twv apapTt]p.aTa>v napa t<o Gf<5, xni rj 
p-vr/prj rav avyKexa>prjp,fj/a>v <'ip,apTr]p.aTa>i> ovk >j(pavi£(Tn irapa T<f Ilavhq. 
— Chiys. Opp. Tom. viu. p. f>7. 

61, 63 ; 

xx. 43. 

of delaying Repentance. 331 

joy, of glory, of felicity dispensed to us hereafter; serm. 
the later consequently we repent, the less we shall 

be happy : One star, saith the Apostle, differeth i Cor. xv. 
from another in glory: and of all stars, those in 
the celestial sphere will shine brightest, who did 
soon rise here, and continued long, by the lustre of 
their good works, to glorify their heavenly Father ; 
for, The path of the just is as the shining light, that Prov. iv. 
shineth more and more unto the perfect day. While, 
therefore, we let our interest lie dead by lingering, 
or run behind by sinful practice, we are very bad 
husbands for our soul; our spiritual estate doth 
thereby hugely suffer ; every minute contracteth a 
damage, that runneth through millions of ages, and 
which therefore will amount to an immense sum : 
and who for all the pleasures here would forego one 
degree of blissful joy hereafter? who for all earthly 
splendours would exchange one spark of celestial 
glory? who for all the treasures below would let 
slip one gem out of his heavenly crown? 

1 2 Further, let us consider that whatever our 
age, whatever our condition or case be, the advice 
not to procrastinate our obedience is very suitable 
and useful. 

Art thou young? then it is most proper to 
enter upon living well q . For when we set out, we 
should be put in a right way; when we begin to 
be men, we should begin to use our reason well; 
life and virtue should be of the same standing. 
What is more ugly than a child, that hath learnt 
little, having learnt to do ill? than naughtiness 
springing up in that state of innocence? The 

q Sub psedagogo cceperis licet, serum est. — 

Mart. viii. 44. [2.J 

Prov. xxii. 

332 The Danger and Mischief 

serm. foundation of good life is to be laid in that age, 

upon which the rest of our life is built ; for this is 

the manner of our proceeding; the present always 
dependeth upon what is past ; our practice is guided 
by notions that we had sucked in, is swayed by 
inclinations that we got before ; whence usually our 
first judgments of things, and our first propensions 
do stretch their influence upon the whole future 
life. Train up a child in the way he should go, and 
when he is old he will not depart from it, saith the 
Wise Man. 

That age, as it is most liable to be corrupted 
by vice, so it is most capable of being imbued 
with virtue; then nature is soft and pliable, so as 
easily to be moulded into any shape, ready to admit 
any stamp impressed thereon r ; then the mind is 
a pure table, in which good principles may be 
fairly engraven without rasing out any former ill 
prejudices; then the heart being a soil free of 
weeds, the seeds of goodness being cast therein 
will undisturbedly grow and thrive; then the com- 
plexion being tender will easily be set into a right 
posture : our soul is then a vessel empty and sweet ; 
good liquor therefore may be instilled, which will 
both fill it, and season it with a durable tincture; 
the extreme curiosity and huge credulity of that 
age, as they greedily will swallow any, so will they 
admit good instruction. If we do then imbibe false 
conceptions, or have bad impressions made on our 
minds, it will be hard afterwards to expel, or to 

r Natura tenacissimi sumus eorum, qua) rudibus annis percipi- 
mus, &c. — Quint. I. 1. [5.] 

Difficulter craditur, quod rudos animi perbiberunt. — Ilier. ad 
Lsetam. [Ep. lvii. Opp. Tom, iv. p. ii. col. 592.] 

of delaying Repentance,. 333 

correct them 8 Passion is then very fluid and seem. 


moveable, but, not being impetuously determined - 

any way, may easily be derived into the right 
channel. Then the quickness of our wit, the brisk- 
ness of our fancy, the freshness of our memory, the 
vigour of our affections, the lusty and active mettle 
of our spirits, being applied to virtuous studies 
and endeavours, will produce most noble fruits ; the 
beauty of which will adorn us, the sweetness will 
please us, so as to leave on our minds a perpetual 
relish and satisfaction in goodness* Then, being 
less encumbered with the cares, less entangled in 
the perplexities, less exposed to the temptations of 
the world and secular affairs, we can more easily 
set forth, we may proceed more expeditely in good 
courses. Then, being void of that stinging remorse, 
which doth adhere to reflections upon past follies and 
misspent time, with more courage and alacrity we 
may prosecute good undertakings ; then, beginning 
so soon to embrace virtue, we shall have advantage 
with more leisure and more ease to polish and 
perfect it through our ensuing course of life; setting 
out so early, in the very morning of our age, with- 
out much straining, marching on softly and fairly, 
we may go through our journey to happiness. 

Our actions then are the first-fruits of our life, 
which, therefore, are fit and due sacrifices to our 

s Ut corpora ad quosdam membrorum flexus formari, nisi 
tenera, non possunt, sic animos quoque ad pleraque duriores robur 
ipsum facit. — Quint. I. 1. [22.] 

Quo semel est imbuta recens, servabit odorem 
Testa diu. — Hor. Ep. i. 2. [69.J 

Hoei yap on ^aXerrbv rj veorrjs, on evpimaTov, on eve^aTvarrjTov, 
6Vt evokiaBov, Kal o-(j)o8poTepov Set rov ^aXti/oC. — Chrys. 'AvBp. a. 
[Opp. Tom. vi. p. 451.] 

334 The Danger and Mischief 

serm. Maker: which if we do withdraw, we shall have 


-nothing left so worthy or acceptable to present 

unto him. "Will it be seemly to offer him the dregs 
and refuse of our age? Shall we not be ashamed 
to bring a crazy temper of body and soul, dry 
bones, and decayed senses, a dull fancy, a treacher- 
ous memory, a sluggish spirit before him? Shall 
we then, when we are fit for little, begin to under- 
take his service? With our decrepit limbs and 
wasted strength shall we set ourselves to run the 

Pa. cxix. ways of his commandments? As it is uncomfortable 
to think of being parsimonious, when our stock is 
almost gone; so it is to become thrifty of our life 
when it comes near the bottom" 

If we keep innocency, spend our youth well, it 
will yield unexpressible comfort to us; it will save 
us much sorrow, it will prevent many inconveniences 
to us : if we have spent it ill, it will yield us great 
displeasure, it will cost us much pains; we shall be 
forced sadly to bewail our folly and vanity therein ; 
it will be bitter to see, that we must unlive our 
former life, and undo all we have done; that we 
must renounce the principles we have avowed, we 
must root out the habits we have planted, we must 
forsake the paths which we have beaten and so 
long trod in, if ever we will be happy; it will be 
grievous to us, when we come with penitential 

p s . xxv. 7. regret to deprecate, Lord, remember not the sins of 

.iob xx. n; my youth; we shall feel sore pain, when Our bones 
are full of the sins of our youth; and we come To 

xiii. 26. possess the iniquities thereof 

Lam. iii. It is therefore good, as the Prophet saith, that a 


[Hcs. Op. et Di. 307.J 

of delaying Repentance. 335 

man bear the yoke in his youth, when his neck is serm. 

tender"; it is excellent advice which the Preacher '- 

giveth, Remember thy Creator in the days of thy Eccles - xii - 
youth, while the evil days come not, and the years 
draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure 
in them. 

Aristotle saith that, Young men are not idoneous 
auditors of moral doctrine, because, saith he, they 
are unexperienced in affairs of life; and because 
they are apt to follow their passions, which indispose 
to hear with fruit or profit 1 . But this conclusion is 
false, and his reasons may be well turned against 
him ; for because young men want experience, there- 
fore is there no bad prejudice, no contrary habit to 
obstruct their embracing sound doctrine; because 
their passions are vehement and strong, therefore, 
being rightly ordered, and set upon good objects, 
they with great force will carry them to virtuous 
practice : that, indeed, is the best time to regulate 
and tame passions; as horses must be broken when 
they are colts, dogs must be made when they are 
whelps, else they will never be brought to any 
thing. The poet therefore advised better than the 


Nunc adbibe puro 
Pectore verba, puer, nunc te melioribus offer 2 : 

and St Paul plainly doth confute him, when he 
biddeth parents To educate their children in the Eph. vi. 4. 
nurture and admonition of the Lord; when he 

x Fingit equum tenora docilem cervice magister 

Ire viam, qua monstrat eques. — 

Hor. Ep. I. 2. [64.] 

i Tqs iroXiTiKrjs ovk eariv oiiceioy aKpcaTr/s 6 vtos- aTTfipos yap toov 
Kara top filov irpa£e<ov . . . w Eti 8e tols irade<Tii> aKoXov^rncos uiv, 
parauci aKovaerat /cat dva><f)e\2>s . Eth. I. 3. [5.] 

'• Hor. Epist. i. 2. [67.] 

336 The Danger and Mischief 

seem, chargeth Titus, that He exhort young men to be 
— - — - sober-minded; when he commendeth Timothy, for 

Trim. a. tna t He had aire, (lpe(povs, from his infancy, known 

i" 5 ,. the holy scriptures; so doth the Psalmist, when he 

p s . cxix. 9. saith, Wherewith shall a young man cleanse his 
way? by taking heed according to thy ivord. And 
Solomon, when he declareth that his moral precepts 

Prcv. i. 4 ; did serve, To give subtilty to the simple, to the young 
man knowledge and discretion; when he biddeth 

xxii. 6. us, To train up a child in the way he should go; 

1 Pet. ii. St Peter doth intimate the same when he biddeth 
us, As new-born babes to desire the sincere milk of 

Lukexviii. the viord ; and our Saviour, when he said, Suffer 
little children to come unto me, for of such is the 
kingdom of God; that is, the more simplicity and 
innocence a man is endued with, the more apt he 
is to embrace and comply with the evangelical doc- 
trine. Aristotle, therefore, was out, when he would 
exclude young men from the schools of virtue. 
It is observable that he contradicteth himself; for, 

Ou fxiKpov oia<pep6t to o'vtcos rj o'vtws, ev9i>s e/c vewv 
eO'iCeoOai, aXXa irafxiroKv' fxaWov he to Trav 3, \ It IS, 

saith he, of no small concernment to be from youth 
accustomed thus or thus; yea, it is very 'much, or 
rather all. And how shall a young man be accus- 
tomed to do well, if he be not allowed to learn 
what is to be done ? 

Again; Are we old? it is then high time to 
begin; we have then less time to spare from our 
most important business; we stand then in most 
imminent danger, upon the edge of perdition, and 
should therefore be nimble to skip out thence ; our 
forces being diminished, our quickness and industry 

a E;h. 11. [1. 8.] 

of delaying Repentance. 537 

should be increased; the later we set out, the more |^^- 

speed it behoveth us to make. If we stay, we 

shall grow continually more indisposed and unfit 
to amend; it will be too late, when utter decrepit- 
ness and dotage have seized upon us, and our 
body doth survive our soul" When so much of 
our time, of our parts, of our strength, are fled, we 
should husband the rest to best advantage, and 
make the best satisfaction we can unto God, and 
unto our souls, with the remainder. 

This age hath some peculiar advantages, which 
we should embrace : the froth of humours is then 
boiled out, the fervours of lust are slaked, passions 
are allayed, appetites are flatted; so that, then, 
inclinations to sin are not so violent, nor doth the 
enjoyment thereof so much gratify" 

Long experience, then, hath discovered the vanity 
of all worldly things, and the mischief of ill courses; 
so that we can, then, hardly admire any thing, or 
be fond of enjoying what we have found unprofit- 
able or hurtful. 

Age is excused from compliance with the 
fashions, and thence much exempted from tempta- 
tions of the world ; so that it may be good without 
obstacle or opposition. 

Quod facere solent qui serius exeunt — calcar addamus. — Sen. 
Ep. lxviii. [11.] Vid. Epp. lxxvi. xix. 

2Ttjpi£oi< ra Aoijra, a fieWa dnoOavetv. — Rev. iii. 2. 
c Non omnia grandior setas, 

Quae fugiamus habet. — 

Ovid. [Met. vi. 28.] 
'H ficv yap veorrjs 7reXdyei TrpoaeoiKe p.aivop,£va>, KvpArcw dypiav, 
Kai Trvev/iarcou yep.ovrc trovrjpav fj 8e ttoXio. axrirep els Xip.€va aKV- 
fiavrov ras rav yeyrjpaKOTcov opfxlfci yjsvxas, napc^ovaa rfj trapa rrjs 
facias ivrpvcpav dcrcpakelq. — Chrys. Orat. XXXVIII. Opp. Tom. VI. 
[p. 447.] 

B. S. VOL. III. 22 

Prov. xvi. 

338 The Danger and Mischief 

seem. It is proper thereto to be grave and serious, 

-and, consequently, to be virtuous; for gravity 

without virtue, and seriousness about vain things, 
are ridiculous. Nothing doth so adorn this age as 
goodness, nothing doth so disgrace it as wickedness ; 
The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it he found in 
the way of righteousness; but it is a mark of infamy, 
if it be observed proceeding in a course of iniquity; 
it signifieth that experience hath not improved it; 
it argueth incorrigible folly, or rather incurable 
madness therein. 

There is, indeed, no care, no employment proper 
for old men, but to prepare for their dissolution; 
to be bidding adieu to the world, with its vain 
pomps and mischievous pleasures; to be packing 
up their goods, to be casting their accounts, to be 
fitting themselves to abide in that state into which 
they are tumbling; to appear at that bar before 
which suddenly nature will set them. As a ship, 
which hath long been tossed and weather-beaten, 
which is shattered in its timber, and hath lost 
much of its rigging, should do nothing in that case 
but work toward the port, there to find its safety 
and ease; so should a man, who, having passed 
many storms and agitations of the world, is griev- 
ously battered and torn with age, strive only to 
die well, to get safe into the harbour of eternal 
rest d 

In fine, Epicurus himself said well, that, No 
man is either immature or overripe in regard to his 
soul's health", we can never set upon it too soon, 

d In froto viximus, moriamur in portu. — Sen. Ep. xix. 
c OiVf yap aa>pos ovSfi'y (oriv, ovre napcopos, irpbs to Kara 
yf/vx>)v vyiaivov. — Epic, ad Menoec. [Diog. Laert. x. 27, 122. J 

of delaying Repentance. 339 

we should never think it too late to begin : to live |ekm. 

well is always the best thing we can do, and there- 

fore we should at any time endeavour it; there are 
common reasons for all ages, there are special 
reasons for each age, which most strongly and 
most clearly do urge it; it is most seasonable for 
young men, it is most necessary for old men, it is 
most advisable for all men f 

Again ; be our condition what it will, this advice 
is reasonable: Are we in health? we owe God 
thanks for that excellent gift; and the best grati- 
tude we can express is the improving it for his 
service and our own good : we should not lose the 
advantage of a season so fit for our obedience and 
repentance ; while the forces of our body and mind 
are entire, while we are not discomposed by pain 
or faintness, we should strive to dispatch this need- 
ful work, for which infirmity may disable us. 

Are we sick? it is then time to consider our 
frailty, and the best we can to obviate the worst 
consequences thereof: it is then very fit, when we 
do feel the sad effects of sin, to endeavour the 
prevention of worse mischiefs that may follow; it 
is seasonable, when we lie under God's correcting 
hand, to submit unto him, to deprecate his wrath, 
to seek reconciliation with him by all kinds of 
obedience suitable to that state; with serious reso- 
lutions to amend hereafter, if it shall please God 
to restore us ; it is most advisable, when we are in 
the borders of death, to provide for that state which 
lieth just beyond it. 

f Quare, juventus, immo omnis £etas (neque enimrectse voluntati 
scrum est tempus ullum) totis mentibus hue tendamus, in hoc 
laboremus; forsan et consummare contingat. — Quint, xn. i. [31 J 


340 The Danger and Mischief 

serm. Are we rich and prosperous? it is expedient 

— then presently to amend, lest our wealth do soon 

corrupt us with pride, with luxury, with sloth, with 
Prov.i. 32. stupidity; lest our prosperity become an inevitable 
snare, an irrecoverable bane unto us. 

Are we poor or afflicted ? it is then also needful 
to repent quickly, that we may have a comfortable 
support for our soul, and a certain succour in our 
distress ; that we may get a treasure to supply our 
want, a joy to drown our sorrow, a buoy to keep 
our hearts from sinking into desperation and dis- 
consolateness. This condition is a medicine, which 
God administereth for our soul's health; if it do 
not work presently, so as to do us good, it will 
prove both grievous and hurtful to us. 

13 Lastly, we may consider, that, abating all 
the rueful consequences of abiding in sin, abstract- 
ing from the desperate hazards it exposeth us to 
in regard to the future life, it is most reasonable 
to abandon it, betaking ourselves to a virtuous 
course of practice. For virtue in itself is far more 
eligible than vice; to keep God's commandments 
hath much greater convenience than to break them ; 
the life of a good man, in all considerable respects, 
is highly to be preferred above the life of a bad 
man : for what is virtue, but a way of living that 
advanceth our nature into a similitude with God's 
most excellent and happy nature 5 ; that promoteth 
our true benefit and interest; that procureth and 
preserveth health, ease, safety, liberty, peace, com- 
fortable subsistence, fair repute, tranquillity of 
mind, all kinds of convenience to us? To what 

g Est autem virtus nihil aliud, quam in se perfecta, et ad 
summuin porducta natura. — Cic. de Leg. 1. [8. 25.] 

of delaying Repentance. 341 

ends did our most benign and most wise Maker sbbm. 
design and suit his law, but to the furthering our 

good, and securing us from mischief, as not only M lc. '^.'s 3 .' 
himself hath declared, but reason sheweth, and ^m.^i. 3 ' 
experience doth attest? What is vice, but a sort of ^ ^ 
practice which debaseth and disparageth us, which 
plungeth us into grievous evils, which bringeth 
distemper of body and soul, distress of fortune, 
danger, trouble, reproach, regret, and numberless 
inconveniences upon us ; which, for no other reason 
than because it so hurteth and grieveth us, was by 
our loving Creator interdicted to us? Virtue is 
most noble and worthy, most lovely, most profit- 
able, most pleasant, most creditable; vice is most 
sordid and base, ugly, hurtful, bitter, disgraceful 
in itself, and in its consequences. If we compare 
them together, we shall find, that virtue doth 
always preserve our health, but vice commonly 
doth impair it; that virtue improveth our estate, 
vice wasteth it; that virtue adorneth our reputa- 
tion, vice blemisheth it; that virtue strengtheneth 
our parts, vice weakeneth them ; that virtue main- 
taineth our freedom, vice enslaveth us; that virtue 
keepeth our mind in order and peace, vice discom- 
poseth and disquieteth it; virtue breedeth satisfac- 
tion and joy, vice spawneth displeasure and anguish 
of conscience: to enter therefore into a virtuous 
course of life, what is it but to embrace happiness ? 
to continue in vicious practice, what is it but to 
stick in misery? 

By entering into good life, we enter into the 
favour and friendship of God, engaging his infinite 
power and wisdom for our protection, our succour, 
our direction, and guidance; enjoying the sweet 

342 The Danger and Mischief 

serm. effluxes of his mercy and bounty; we therewith 

-become friends to the holy angels and blessed 

saints; to all good men, being united in a holy and 
happy consortship of judgment, of charity, of hope, 
of devotion with them: we become friends to all 
the world, which we oblige by good wishes, and 
good deeds, and by the influence of good example : 
we become friends to ourselves, whom we thereby 
enrich and adorn with the best goods; whom we 
gratify and please with the choicest delights : but, 
persisting in sin, we continue to affront, wrong, 
and displease our Maker, to be disloyal toward our 
sovereign Lord, to be ingrateful toward our chief 
benefactor, to disoblige the best friend we have, 
to provoke a most just and severe judge, to cope 
with omnipotency, to contradict infallibility, to 
enrage the greatest patience, to abuse immense 
goodness: we thereby become enemies to all the 
world; to God, whom we injure and dishonour; to 
the friends of God, whom we desert and oppose; to 
the creatures, which we abuse to our pride, lust, 
and vanity; to our neighbours, whom we corrupt 
or seduce; to ourselves, whom we bereave of the 
best goods, and betray to the worst evils. 

Beginning to live soberly, we begin to. live like 
men, following the conduct of reason ; beginning to 
live in charity, we commence the life of angels, 
enjoying in ourselves most sweet content, and 
procuring great benefit to others ; but going on in 
sinful voluptuousness, we proceed to live like 
beasts, wholly guided by sense, and swayed by 
appetite; being pertinacious in malice, we continue 
to be like fiends, working torment in ourselves, 
and mischief to our neighbours. 

of delaying Repentance. 343 

Embracing virtue, we become wise and sober seem. 

° . XLIII. 

men, worthy and honourable, beneficial and useful 

to the world ; but continuing in vice, we continue 
to be foolish and vain, to be vile and despicable, 
to be worthless and useless. 

By our delay to amend, what do we gain? 
what, but a little flashy and transient pleasure, 
instead of a solid and durable peace; but a little 
counterfeit profit, instead of real wealth; but a 
little smoke of deceitful opinion, instead of un- 
questionably sound honour; shadows of imaginary 
goods, instead of those which are most substantial 
and true, a good mind, the love of God, the assured 
welfare of our souls. But this field of discourse is 
too spacious ; I shall only therefore for conclusion 
say, that speedily applying ourselves to obedience, 
and breaking off our sins by repentance, is in effect 
nothing else but, from a present hell in trouble, 
and the danger of a final hell in torment, to be 
translated into a double heaven; one of joyful 
tranquillity here, another of blissful rest hereafter; 
unto the which Almighty God in his mercy bring 
us all, through Jesus Christ our Lord; to whom 
for ever be all glory and praise. Amen. 

The very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and l Thess - v. 
/ pray God your whole spirit, and soul, and body, 
be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord 
Jesus Christ. Amen. 



Eccles. IX. IO. 

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy 


xijv' T"^ *^ Paul's Epistle to the Romans, among divers 

J- excellent rules of life, prescribed by that great 

Rom. xii. master, this is one, Trj airovSri /mrj oKvijpoi, Be not 
slothful in business, or to business ; and in the second 
Epistle to the Corinthians, among other principal 
virtues or worthy accomplishments, for abounding 
wherein the Apostle commendeth those Christians, 
i Cor. viii. he ranketh All diligence, iratra airovlri, or industry 
exercised in all affairs and duties incumbent on 
them : this is that virtue, the practice whereof, in 
this moral precept or advice, the royal Preacher 
doth recommend unto us ; being indeed an eminent 
virtue, of very general use and powerful influence 
upon the management of all our affairs, or in the 
conduct of our whole life. 

Industry, I say, in general, touching all matters 
incident, which our hand findeth to do, that is, 
which dispensation of Providence doth offer, or 
which choice of reason embraceth, for employing 
our active powers of soul and body, the Wise Man 
doth recommend; and to pressing the observance 

Of Industry in general. 345 

of his advice (waving all nice reflexions, or curious sb»m. 

remarks either critical or logical upon the words) 

I shall presently apply my discourse, proposing 
divers considerations apt to excite us thereto ; only 
first, let me briefly describe it, for our better appre- 
hension of its true notion and nature. 

By industry we understand a serious and steady 
application of mind, joined with a vigorous exercise 
of our active faculties, in prosecution of any reason- 
able, honest, useful design, in order to the accom- 
plishment or attainment of some considerable good ; 
as, for instance, a merchant is industrious who 
continueth intent and active in driving on his trade 
for acquiring wealth ; a soldier is industrious who 
is watchful for occasion, and earnest in action, 
toward obtaining the victory ; and a scholar is 
industrious who doth assiduously bend his mind to 
study for getting knowledge. 

Industry doth not consist merely in action ; 
for that is incessant in all persons, our mind being 
a restless thing, never abiding in a total cessation 
from thought or from design a ; (being like a ship in 
the sea, if not steered to some good purpose by 
reason, yet tossed by the waves of fancy, or driven 
by the winds of temptation somewhither.) But 
the direction of our mind to some good end, with- 
out roving or flinching, in a straight and steady 
course, drawing after it our active powers in execu- 
tion thereof, doth constitute industry ; the which 
therefore usually is attended with labour and pain ; 

H yap yfrvxri (pvo-iv €x ovo ~ a T °v Kcvfiadai Sianavrbs, ovk dvexerai 
rjpefieiv. Ep.npaK.Tov to £<Soj» tovto hroirjcrev 6 Oeoy, km koto, (pvaiv 

avra eVrt to epya&adai, rrapa cpio-iv Se to dpye'iv. Chrys. in Act. 

Orat. xxxv. [Opp. Tom. iv. p. 810.] 

346 Of Industry in general. 

serm. for our mind (which naturally doth affect variety 

and liberty, being apt to loathe familiar objects. 

and to be weary of any constraint) is not easily 
kept in a constant attention to the same thing; 
and the spirits employed in thought are prone to 
flutter and fly away, so that it is hard to fix them . 
and the corporeal instruments of action being 
strained to a high pitch, or detained in a tone, will 
soon feel a lassitude somewhat offensive to nature ; 
whence labour or pain is commonly reckoned an 
ingredient of industry, and laboriousness is a name 
signifying it; upon which account this virtue, as 
involving labour, deserveth a peculiar commenda- 
tion; it being then most laudable to follow the 
dictates of reason, when so doing is attended with 
difficulty and trouble. 

Such in general I conceive to be the nature of 
industry; to the practice whereof the following 
considerations may induce. 

i We may consider, that industry doth befit 
the constitution and frame of our nature; all the 
faculties of our soul and organs of our body being 
adapted in a congruity and tendency thereto : our 
bands are suited for work, our feet for travel, our 
senses to watch for occasion of pursuing good and 
eschewing evil, our reason to plod and contrive 
ways of employing the other parts and powers ; all 
these, I say, are formed for action; and that not in 
a loose and gadding way, or in a slack and remiss 
degree, but, in regard to determinate ends, with 
vigour requisite to attain them; and especially our 
appetites do prompt to industry, as inclining to 
things not obtainable without it ; according to that 
aphorism of the Wise Man, 'ETriOufxlai 6Kvrjp6i> diro- 

Of Industry in general. 347 

KTelvowiv, The desire of the slothful hilleth him, for sebm. 
his hands refuse to labour; that is, he is apt to 

T^rOT/ - XXI 

desire things which he cannot attain without pains ; 2? ; ' 
and, not enduring them, he for want thereof doth xm " 4 * 
feel a deadly smart and anguish : wherefore in not 
being industrious we defeat the intent of our 
Maker; we pervert his work and gifts ; we forfeit 
the use and benefit of our faculties; we are bad 
husbands of nature's stock. 

2 In consequence hereto industry doth preserve 
and perfect our nature, keeping it in good tune 
and temper, improving and advancing it toward 
its best state. The labour of our mind in atten- 
tive meditation and study doth render it capable 
and patient in thinking upon any object or oc- 
casion, doth polish and refine it by use, doth 
enlarge it by accession of habits, doth quicken 
and rouse our spirits, dilating and diffusing them 
into their proper channels. The very labour of 
our body doth keep the organs of action sound 
and clean, discussing fogs and superfluous humours, 
opening passages, distributing nourishment, ex- 
citing vital heat : barring the use of it, no good 
constitution of soul or body can subsist ; but a foul 
rust, a dull numbness, a resty listlessness, a heavy 
unwieldiness must seize on us b ; our spirits will be 
stifled and choked, our hearts will grow faint and 
languid, our parts will flag and decay; the vigour 
of our mind and the health of our body will be 
much impaired. 

Tlavra yap tj apyla /3X<Mrrei, Kai to. p.e\r] adparos avra (SKaTrrei 
7ra>s fj apyla. &c. — Chrys. [ubi supra.]>Tov p.ev yap tov toiovtov to era pa airo txXuroy, Ka\ 77e7rXaS)jK6y, 
&c. — [Ibid. p. 809.] 

348 Of Industry in general. 

seem. It is with us as with other things in nature , 

XLIV which by motion are preserved in their native 
purity and perfection, in their sweetness, in their 
lustre; rest corrupting, debasing, and defiling them. 
If the water runneth, it holdeth clear, sweet, and 
fresh; but stagnation turneth it into a noisome 
puddle : if the air be fanned by winds, it is pure 
and wholesome ; but from being shut up, it groweth 
thick and putrid : if metals be employed, they abide 
smooth and splendid ; but lay them up, and they 
soon contract rust : if the earth be belaboured with 
culture, it yieldeth corn d ; but, lying neglected, it 
will be overgrown with brakes and thistles 6 ; and 
the better its soil is, the ranker weeds it will pro- 
duce : all nature is upheld in its being, order, and 
state, by constant agitation ; every creature is in- 
cessantly employed in action conformable to its 
designed end and use ; in like manner the preserva- 
tion and improvement of our faculties depends on 
their constant exercise. 

3 A s we naturally were composed, so by divine 
appointment we were originally designed for in- 
dustry; God did not intend that man should live 
idly, even in his best state, or should enjoy happi- 
ness without taking pains ; but did provide work 
Gen.ii. 15. enough even in Paradise itself; for The Lord God, 
saith the text, took man, and put him into the gar- 
den of Eden to dress it and to keep it ; so that had 

c liolos Ittttos xpr]<rip.os, o Tpv(f>a>v, rj 6£6p.evos ; iroia vavs, rj 
TrXeovaa, rj rj apyovaa ; irolov v8a>p, to Tpe%ov, rj to e'oraJj ; wolos aidr]- 
pos, 6 Kelptvos, rj 6 ipya£6p.evos; &C. Id. Ibid. 

d Vid. Plut. de Liber. Educ. Opp. Tom. i. p. 3. Ed. Steph. 

e Neglectis urenda filix innascitur agris. — 

Hor. Sat. i. 3. [37.J 

Of Industry in general. 349 

we continued happy, we must have been ever |gJM. 

busy, by our industry sustaining our life, and 

securing our pleasure ; otherwise weeds might have 

overgrown Paradise, and that of Solomon might 

have been applicable to Adam; / went by the field Piw.xxiv. 

of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void 

of understanding; and, lo, it was all grown over 

with thorns, and nettles had covered the face 


4 By our transgression and fall the necessity 
of industry (together with a difficulty of obtaining 
good, and avoiding evil) was increased to us ; being 
ordained both as a just punishment for our offences, 
and as an expedient remedy of our needs: for 
thereupon the ground was cursed to bring forth Gen. m. 
thorns and thistles to us; and it was our doom 7 ' I 
pronounced by God's own mouth, In the sweat of Gen. m. 
thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto * 9 ' 
the ground: so that now labour is fatally natural 

to us ; now Man, as Job saith, is born to labour, Job v. 7. 
as the sparks fly upward, (or, as the vultures 
chickens soar aloft, according to the Greek in- 
terpreters 1 ) 

5 Accordingly our condition and circumstances 
in the world are so ordered, as to require industry ; 
so that without it we cannot support our life in any 
comfort or convenience ; whence St Paul's charge 

upon the Thessalonians, that If any one would not 2 Thess. m. 
work, neither should he eat, is in a manner a general '°' 

'AXX' avdpanros yevvarai Kowa, veocrorol be yvnos ra ii^Xa werov- 
rai. — LXX. Iuterp. 

Great travail (as the son of Sirach saith) is created for every 
man, and a heavy yoke is upon the sons of Adam, 6rc. 'AtrxoX/a 
fj.eyd\t] eKTHTTai navri dvOpmirco, Ka\ £vyos ftapis enl vloiis 'Aba/j.. — 
Ecclus. xl. I. 

Prov. xix. 
xx. 4. 

350 Of Industry in general. 

serm. law imposed on mankind by the exigency of our 
XLIV state, according to that of Solomon; The idle soul 
shall suffer hunger, and, The sluggard, who will not 
plough by reason of the cold, shall beg in harvest, 
and have nothing. 

Of all our many necessities, none can be sup- 
plied without pains, wherein all men are obliged to 
bear a share ; every man is to work for his food, 
for his apparel, for all his accommodations, either 
immediately and directly, or by commutation and 
equivalence ; for the gentleman himself cannot (at 
least worthily and inculpably) obtain them other- 
wise than by redeeming them from the ploughman 
and the artificer, by compensation of other cares 
and pains conducible to public good. 

The wise poet did observe well when he said, 

Pater ipse colendi 
Haud facilem esse viam voluifr 8 . 

And St Chrysostom doth propose the same obser- 
vation, that God, to whet our mind", and keep us 
from moping, would not that we should easily come 
by the fruits of the earth, without employing much 
art and many pains; in order thereto there must 
be skill used in observing seasons, and preparing 
the ground; there must be labour spent in ma- 
nuring, in delving, and ploughing; in sowing, in 
weeding, in fencing it ; there must be pains taken 
in reaping, in gathering, in laying up, in threshing 
and dressing the fruit ere we can enjoy it; so much 

g Virg. Georg. 1. [121.] 

Aia tovto els dvayKr/v tffias KarecrTrjcrev ipyaaias 6 Q(6s, &C. — 
Chrys. in Act. Horn. xxxv. [Opp. Tom. iv. p. 810.] 

Curis acuens mortalia corda ; 
Nee torpere gravi passus sua regna yeterno. — 

Virg. Georg. 1. [123.] 

Of Industry in general. 351 

industry is needful to get bread: and if we list to seem. 

fare more daintily, we must either hunt for it, 

using craft and toil to catch it out of the woods, 
the water, the air; or we must carefully wait on 
those creatures, of which we would serve ourselves, 
feeding them that they may feed us; such industry 
is required to preserve mankind from starving. And 
to guard it from other inconveniences, mischiefs, 
and dangers surrounding us, it is no less requisite : 
for to shelter us from impressions of weather, we 
must spin, we must weave, we must build ; and in 
order thereto we must scrape into the bowels of the 
earth to find our tools; we must sweat at the anvil 
to forge them for our use; we must frame arms to 
defend our safety and our store from the assaults of 
wild beasts, or of more dangerous neighbours, wild 
men. To furnish accommodations for our curiosity 
and pleasure, or to provide for the convenience and 
ornament of our life, still greater measures of in- 
dustry are demanded; to satisfy those intents, a 
thousand contrivances of art, a thousand ways of 
trade and business do serve, without which they are 
not attainable. In whatever condition any man is, 
in what state soever he be placed, whatsoever 
calling or way of life he doth embrace, some peculiar 
business is thence imposed on him, which he cannot, 
with any advantage or good success, with any grace, 
with any comfort to himself, or satisfaction to 
others, manage without competent industry: no- 
thing will go on of itself, without our care to direct 
it, and our pains to hold it and forward it in the 
right course: all which things shew, that divine 
wisdom did intend that we should live in the 
exercise of industry, or not well without it ; having 

352 Of Industry in general. 

seem, so many needs to be supplied, so many desires 

XLIV to be appeased thereby; being exposed to so 

many troubles and difficulties, from which we 

cannot extricate ourselves without it. But further 


6 Let us consider, that industry hath annexed 
thereto, by divine appointment and promise, the 
fairest fruits, and the richest rewards : all good 
things (being either such in themselves, or made 
such by human esteem) are the fruits of industry ; 
ordered to sprout from it, under the protection and 
influence of God's blessing, which commonly doth 
attend it. 

All good things, indeed, are the gifts of God, 
and freely dispensed by his hand; but he doth 
not give them absolutely without condition, nor 
miraculously without concurrence of ordinary means: 
by supporting our active powers, and supplying 
Ps. xxxvii. needful aid to our endeavours ; by directing and 
Prov'iii 6 upholding us in the course of our action ; by pre- 
venting or removing obstacles that might cross us; 
by granting that final success which dependeth on 
his pleasure, he doth confer them on us 1 ; our hand 
judg. vi. commonly is God's hand, by which he worketh 
vii.'7. good and reacheth our benefits to us; governing 
2 Kmgs v. an( j w ielding it as he pleaseth. 
josh. i. 9 , God, indeed, could not well proceed otherwise in 

dispensing his favours to us ; not well, I say ; that 
is, not without subverting the method of things 
which himself hath established; not without slight- 
ing and voiding his own first bounty, or rendering 
the common gifts of nature (our reason, our senses, 
our active powers) vain and useless ; not without 

1 Dii laboribus omnia vendunt. 

Of Industry in general. 353 

making us incapable of any praise, or any reward k , seem. 
which suppose works achieved by our earnest en- 

deavour; not without depriving us of that sweetest 
content, which springeth from enjoying the fruit of 
our labour. 

Hence it is, that whatever in Holy Scripture is 
called the gift of God, is otherwhile affirmed to be 
the effect of industry ; it being the useful condition 
upon which, and the instrument whereby, divine 
Providence conveyeth good things to us 1 : what 
God said to Joshua, doth imply the general method 
of his proceeding, Only be thou strong and cou- Josh. i. 7. 
rageous — that thou nvayest -prosper whithersoever 
thou goest. 

Hence whatever we are directed to pray for, we 
are also exhorted to work for m ; declaring there- 
by, that we are serious in our devotion, and do not 
mock God, asking that of him which we deem not 
worth our pains to acquire. It was well said of 
Cato in Sallust, Vigilando, agendo, bene consu- 
lendo, prospere omnia cedunt : ubi socordice te atque 
ignavice tradideris, nequicquam deos implores; irati, 
infestique sunt*. We are bid to pray even for 
our daily bread, yet we may starve if we do not 

k Kai twos efieWes \ap.{iaveiv tov piadov, el to ■nav ZfieWev 'io-eo-Qai 
tov Qiov. — Chrys. in Eph. Orat. n. [?]. 

1 'Opqs otl trepi (Kiiva paWov ■q tyvxh 8id<€tTai, virep a>v cKa/ie ; 
Sia tovto Kai ttovovs avijxi^iv apery, oiKewocrai avrfj TavTrjv fiovkopevos. — 
Id. in Joh. Horn, xxxvi. [Opp. Tom. n. p. 701.] 

Aia tovto oi to nav rfpav enoLrjo-ev, aXX a<pfJKe ti e<p ijp.iv tivai, 

"wa evirpoo-amov Xd/3»/ irp6(pao-tu tov SiKaias -qpas o-Te<pavovv. Id. Or. 

xxvni. Tom. v. [p. 173.] 

m Avtos ti vvv bpwv, UTa rovs 6eovs nakci. — [Apud Suld. Tom. 
i. col. 666 b. Ed. Gaisford.] 

Tap X"P a TTOTiqbepovTa b~el tclv Tvx av KaXfiv. Plut. Apoph. Lac. 

[Lac. Instit. Opp. Tom. vi. p. 888. Ed. Reisk.J 
" [Sail. Bell. Cat. cap. iai.] 

B. S. VOL. HI. 23 

354 Of Industry in general. 

serm. work for it: and in St Paul's judgment deserve to 
xliv. . 
do so. 

Hence we are bound to thank God for all those 
things, for the want of which we must thank our- 
selves, and condemn our own sloth. 

Hence, although we should cast our care on 
God, and rely on his providence, being solicitous 
for nothing ; yet we must not so trust him as to 
tempt him, by neglecting the means, which he 
doth offer, of relieving ourselves ; to be presumptu- 
ously slothful being no less blameable, than to be 
distrustfully careful. 

Hence God in all such cases, when we do need 

any good thing, is said to be our helper and suc- 

courer to the obtaining it ; which doth imply that 

we must co-operate with him, and join our forces to 

those which he doth afford; so ihat as we can do 

nothing without him, so he will do nothing without 

us ; yea, so that sometime we are said also to help 

Judg. v. God ; Curse ye Meroz, curse ye bitterly the inhabit- 

Ps'. lxxii. ants thereof; because they came not to the help of 

xxii. ii. the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty. 

j O ° 0r " X11 ' If ever God doth perform all without human labour 

i chron. conspiring, it is only in behalf of those who are 

i Sam. xiv. ready to do their best, but unable to do any thing, 

being overpowered by the insuperable difficulty of 

things: but he never doth act miracles, or control 

nature; he never doth stretch forth his arm, or 

interpose special power, in favour of wilful and 

affected sluggards. 

In fine, it is very plain both in common expe- 
rience, declaring the course of Providence, and in 
holy Scripture, expressing God's intention, that 
Almighty God doth hold forth all good things 

Of Industry in general. 355 

as the prizes and recompenses of our vigilant care, seem. 

and painful endeavour; as by surveying particulars 

we may clearly discern. 

Nothing "is more grateful to men, than pro- 
sperous success in their undertakings, whereby they 
attain their ends, satisfy their desires, save their 
pains, and come off with credit; this commonly is 
the effect of industry , (which commandeth fortune, 
to which all things submit and serve,) and scarce 
ever is found without it : an industrious person, who 
as such is not apt to attempt things impossible or 
unpracticable, can hardly fail of compassing his 
designs, because he will apply all means requisite, 
and bend all his forces thereto; striving to break 
through all difficulties, and to subdue all oppositions 
thwarting his purposes: but nothing of worth or 
weight can be achieved with half a mind, with a 
faint heart, with a lame endeavour: any enterprise 
undertaken without resolution, managed without 
care, prosecuted without vigour, will easily be 
dashed and prove abortive, ending in disappoint- 
ment, damage, disgrace, and dissatisfaction : so the 
Wise Man doth assure us ; The soul, saith he, of 'p r0 v. xiii. 
the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing ; but the soul 4 ' XX1 ' 2S ' 
of the diligent shall be made fat: the one pineth 
away with ineffectual and fruitless desires; the 
other thriveth upon satisfaction in prosperous suc- 
cess, yielding that issue of good report, which xv. 30. 
maketh the bones fat. 

Plentiful accommodations for our sustenance 
and convenience all men will agree to be very 

Tfjs eVt/ieXeiar dov\a iravra yiyveTai. — 

Antiphanes. [Apud Stob. Flor. tit. xxix. 51. Tom. n. p. 8. Ed. Gaisf.] 
Quodcunque imperavit sibi animus, obtinuit. &c. — Sen. de Ira ; 
a. 12. [7 } 


356 Of Industry in general. 

™. desirable; and these are, indeed, the blessings of 
him, Who visiteth the earth and enricheth it; Who 

n 8 .' V ' 9 ' crowneth the year with his goodness, and whose 

clouds drop fatness; but they are so dispensed 

by Heaven, that industry must concur therewith 

in deriving them to us, and sloth will debar 

Prov. xii. us of them; for He, saith the holy Oracle, that 

\deJtin S ' tUleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: and 

x3^ X xix the thoughts of the diligent alone tend to plente- 

J 5- ousness; but the sluggard shall beg in harvest, 

and have nothing; and the idle soul shall suffer 


Wealth is that which generally men of all 
things are wont to affect and covet with most 
ardent desire, as the great storehouse of their needs 
and conveniences, the sure bulwark of their state 
and dignity ; the universal instrument of compass- 
ing their designs and pleasures ; and most evident 
it is, that in the natural course of things, industry 
is the way to acquire it, to secure it, to improve 
and enlarge it ; the which course pursued innocently 
and modestly, God will be so far from obstructing 
that he will further and bless it ; for that, indeed, it 
would be a flaw in Providence, if honest industry, 
using the means it affordeth, should fail of pro- 
curing a competency; which joined with a pious 
i Tim. vi. contentedness, in St Paul's computation, is great 
wealth. Wherefore although Solomon telleth us, 
Prov. xv. that, The blessing of the Lord is that which maheth 
xxil. 4; x. rich; yet doth he not forget or contradict himself, 
4 ' xm ' ' when he also doth affirm, that, The hand of the 
diligent maketh rich; and that, He who gathereth by 
labour shall increase; because God blesseth the 
industrious, and by his own hand, as the most 

Of Industry in general. 357 

proper instrument, maketh him rich p . When the seem. 

"\TT T~V 

Preacher said, There is a man to whom God hath _ 

given riches and wealth, he knew well enough what ^ ocles " V1 ' 
man it was, to whom God giveth them; and that 
sluggards were not fit objects of that liberality: for 
he had observed it to be their doom to be poor 
and beggarly, their nature to waste and embezzle 
an estate: he could assure us, that, Drowsiness shall Prov.xxiii. 
clothe a man with rags; he could propound it as a ' 
certain observation, that, He who is slothful in his xviii - 9- 
work is brother to a great waster; or that want of 
industry in our business will no less impair our 
estate, than prodigality itself; and that, He becometh x - 4- 
poor who dealeth with a slack hand; he could more 
than once warn the slothful, that if he did sleep on, 
or persist in his sluggish way, indigency would 
surprise, and seize on him with an insupportable 
violence: So, saith he, shall thy poverty come as™-. 11 ; 
one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed 

Another darling of human affection (and a 
jewel, indeed, of considerable worth and use in our 
life) is honour, or reputation among men : this also 
plainly, after the common reason and course of 
things, is purchased and preserved by industry : for 
he that aspireth to worthy things, and assayeth 
laudable designs, pursuing them steadily with 
serious application of heart and resolute activity, 
will rarely fail of good success, and consequently 
will not miss honour, which ever doth crown vic- 
tory; and if he should hap to fail in his design, 
yet he will not lose his credit; for having meant 

p St Paul exhorteth to work with our own hands, 'iva ixrjbevos 
Xpdav i'xrjTt. — 1 Thcss. iv. 11, 12. 

358 Of Industry in general. 

seem, well, and done his best, all will be ready to excuse, 

many to commend him ; the very qualities which 

industry doth exercise, and the effects which it 
doth produce, do beget honour ; as being ornaments 
of our person and state. God himself (from whom 
i Chron. honour cometh, and whose special prerogative it is 
r> X an.'v. 2 i8. to bestow it, he, as King of the world, being the 
Eccies. v. f oun tain of honour) will be concerned to dignify an 
industrious management of his gifts with that 
natural and proper recompense thereof; conducting 
him who fairly treadeth in the path of honour, that 
he shall safely arrive unto it. It is therefore a 
matter of easy observation, which the wise prince 
Prov. xxii. doth prompt us to mark ; Seest thou a man diligent 
29 " in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall 

not stand before mean men: that is, diligence, as it 
is the fairest, so it is the surest way to the best 
preferment : as it qualifi eth a man for employment, 
and rendereth him useful to the world, so it will 
procure worthy employment for him, and attract the 
world to him ; as the same great author again doth 
xii. 24. assert: The hand, saith he, of the diligent shall bear 
rule; yea, so honourable a thing is industry itself, 
that an exercise thereof in the meanest rank is 
productive of esteem, as the Wise Man again doth 
xxvii. 18. observe and tell us; He that waiteth on his master 
(that is, with diligence attendeth on the business 
committed to him) shall be honoured 1 *. 

No industrious man is contemptible ; for he is 
ever looked upon as being in a way of thriving, of 
working himself out from any straits, of advancing 
himself into a better condition. But without in- 
dustry we cannot expect any thing but disrespect, 

q "■ Or <pv\atT(rei roe eavrov Kvpiov, ripr/dyo-erai. — LXX. 

Of Industry in general. 359 

shame, and reproach, which are the certain portion seem. 
of the slothful ; he not having the heart to enter- XLIY 
prize, or the resolution and patience to achieve any- 
thing deserving regard, or apt to procure it; he 
wanting all the ornaments and good fruits that 
grow from industry; he being only fit for a sordid 
and servile condition; whence, The slothful, saith Prov. xii. 
Solomon, shall be under tribute 11 ; and, He thatl 4 's. 
sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame; he 
causeth it to his relations by his beggarly accou- 
trements, he causeth it much more to himself by 
his despicable faultiness, and by the disgraceful 
consequences of it. 

Another yet more precious good, far surpassing 
all external advantages of our state; the which, in 
the judgment of him who (together with it having 
a full possession of all secular prosperity, wealth, 
dignity, and power) was best able to prize it, isXi iLlI; 
better than rubies, and incomparably doth excel all iv. 7. ' 
things that may be desired, as ennobling, enriching, 18. XXV ™' 
and embellishing our better part : wisdom, I mean, 
or a good comprehension and right judgment about 
matters of highest importance to us, is the prize of 
industry, and not to be gained without it ; nature 
conferreth little thereto 8 , fortune contributeth much 
less; it cannot be bought at any rate; It cannot, xxviu. 15, 
saith Job, be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be 
weighed for the price thereof It cannot be valued 
with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or 
the sapphire; it is the offspring of watchful obser- 
vation and experience, of serious meditation and 

' AdXtot he eaovrai iv npovofiij. LXX. 

s Nec rude quid possit video ingenium. — 

Hor. de Arte Poet. [410.] 

360 Of Industry in general. 

seem, study; of careful reflection on things, marking, 

— comparing, and weighing their nature, their worth, 

their tendencies and consequences; these are need- 
ful to the getting of wisdom, because truth, which 
it seeketh, commonly doth not lie in the surface, 
obvious to a superficial glance, nor only dependeth 
on a simple consideration of few things; but is 
lodged deep in the bowels of things, and under 
a knotty complication of various matters ; so that 
we must dig to come at it, and labour in unfolding 
it. nor is it an easy task to void the prejudices 
springing from inclination or temper, from educa- 
tion or custom, from passion and interest, which 
cloud the mind, and obstruct the attainment of 

If we will have it, we must get it as Solomon 
himself did, that great master of it. How was 
Eccies. 1. that ? / gave, saith he, my heart to know wisdom. 
i Kings iii. He who made it his option and choice before all viii. things ; who so earnestly and so happily did pray for 
Ecci™'. H 7 ' it ; upon whom it is so expressly said, that God in a 
James i. 5. s pecial manner and plentiful measure did bestow it; 
who averreth God to be the sole donor of it, 
Prov. ii.6. (for, The Lord, saith he, giveth wisdom, out of his 
onovfh cometh knowledge and understanding;) yet 
even ho did first give his heart to it before it was 
given into his heart : he did not only gape for it, to 
receive it by mere infusion; but he worked and 
studied hard for it, He was, indeed, a great student, 
.111 inquisitive searcher into nature, a curious ob- 
server of the world, a profound considerer and 
• ■omparer of things; and by that industrious 
course, promoted by divine blessing, he did arrive 
to that great, stock of so renowned a wisdom. 

Of Industry in general. 361 

And the same method it is which he prescribeth serm. 


to us for getting it; exhorting us, that, We incline 

our ear unto wisdom, and apply our heart to un- ^ TC 7' u " 2 ' 
derstanding; that, We cry after knowledge, and lift 
up our voice for understanding; that, We seek her 
as silver, and search for her as for hid treasures; 
in following which course he doth assure us of good 
success; for, Then, saith he, shalt thou understand 
the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God, 
which is the head or chief part of wisdom; and, 
Blessed, saith he again, in the person and place of via. 34, 35. 
wisdom itself, is the man that heareth me, watching 
daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. 
For he thatfindeth me findeth life, and shall obtain 
favour of the Lord. It is the way he supposeth 
of finding wisdom, to watch assiduously, to wait 
diligently upon the means of attaining her; and 
how infallible the acquist of her is thereby, she 
doth again by his mouth thus acquaint us; / love™. 17. 
them that love me; and those that seek me early shall 
find me; and, She, saith his imitator, is easily seewwisd. vi. 
of them that love her, and found of such as seek her: I2 ' I3, I4 ' 
whoso seeketh her early shall have no great travail: 
for he shall find her sitting at his doors. 

This, indeed, is the only way; idleness is not 
capable of so rich and noble a purchase : a slothful 
person may be conceited, yea needs must be so; 
but he can never be wise: A sluggard, saith Solo- Prov.xxvi. 
mon, is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that 
can render a reason; this wisdom is a natural 
issue of his ignorance; and it is, indeed, no small 
part of his folly that he doth not perceive it; being 
no less stupid in reflection on his own mind, than 
in considering other matters: being always in a 

362 Of Industry in general. 

serm. slumber, he will often fall into such pleasant 
XLIV drea-mp; and no wonder that he should presume 
upon abundance of knowledge, who not listing to 
take any pains in the search or discussion of things, 
doth snatch the first appearances, doth embrace 
every suggestion of his fancy, every conceit gratify- 
ing his humour, for truth. 

What should I speak of learning, or the know- 
ledge of various things, transcending vulgar appre- 
hension? Who knoweth not that we cannot other- 
wise reach any part of that, than by assiduous 
study and contemplation? Who doth not find that 
all the power in the world is not able to command, 
nor all the wealth of the Indies to purchase, one 
notion? Who can be ignorant that no wit alone or 
strength of parts can suffice, without great industry, 
to frame any science, to learn any one tongue, to 
know the history of Nature or of Providence? It is 
certainly by Horace's method, 

Multa tulit fecitque puer*, 
by much exercise and endurance of pains, that any 
one can arrive to the mark of being learned or skil- 
ful in any sort of knowledge. 

But further yet, virtue, the noblest endowment 
and richest possession whereof man is capable; the 
glory of our nature, the beauty of our soul, the 
goodliest ornament and the firmest support of our 
life" ; that also is the fruit and blessing of industry; 

1 Qui studot optatam cursu contingero metam, 

Multa tulit fecitque puor, sudavit et alsit. — 

Hor. do Art. Poet. [412.] 

u Ti; fitv KaKia rjhovr), rj) 8e apery o-vyKfKkrjpcoTai ttovos. Chrys. in 

Joh. Horn, xxxvi. [Opp. Tom. n. p. 701.] 

KaKia /xfw yap avTodibaKTov' aperr) hi <tvv nova Krarai. — 

Cf. Sen. do Provid. cap. n. 

Of Industry in general. 363 

that of all tilings most indispensably doth need seem. 
and require it. It doth not grow in us by nature, 

nor befall us by fortune ; for nature is so far from 
producing it, that it yieldeth mighty obstacles and 
resistances to its birth, there being in the best 
dispositions much averseness from good, and great 
proneness to evil; fortune doth not further its 
acquists, but casteth in rubs and hindrances there- 
to, every condition presenting its allurements or 
its affrightments from it; all things within us and 
about us conspire to render its production and its 
practice laborious. 

It is ('tis true) a gift of Heaven, and cannot be 
obtained without a special influence of divine grace ; 
but it is given as children are, (of whom it is said, 
Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the Ps. cxxvii. 
fruit of the womb is his reward,) not without sore 
travail and labour of the mother, not without griev- 
ous difficulty and pangs in the birth. In our con- 
version to embrace virtue God doth guide us; but 
to what? to sit still? No, to walk, to run in his 
ways: grace doth move us, but whereto? to do 
nothing? No, but to stir, and act vigorously; The Rom. viii. 
Holy Spirit doth help, awavrCKaiL^dveTai, our infir- 
mities: but how could it help them, if we did not 
conjoin our best, though weak, endeavours with its 
operations? To what doth it auvawrtXanfidveiv, or 
co-help us, but to strive against sin, to work right- Heb. xii. 4. 

r ' & ' . & 

eousness, to perform duty with earnest intention of Acts x. 35. 
mind, and laborious activity? God, saith St Chry- 
sostom, hath parted virtue with us, and neither hath 
left all to be in us, lest we should be elated to "pride, nor 
himself hath taken all. lest we should decline to sloth' 1 

x 'Epfpiaaro yap irpos ypas Tr/v dptTrjV 6 Geoy, Kai ovrt i(p 

364 Of Industry in general. 

seem. Indeed, the very nature and essence of virtue 


doth consist in the most difficult and painful efforts 
of soul; in the extirpating rooted prejudices and 
notions from our understanding; in bending a stiff 
will, and rectifying crooked inclinations; in over- 
ruling a rebellious temper; in curbing eager and 
importunate appetites ; in taming wild passions ; in 
withstanding violent temptations ; in surmounting 
many difficulties, and sustaining many troubles; 
in struggling with various unruly lusts within, and 
encountering many stout enemies abroad, which 
i Pet. ii. assault our reason, and, War against our soul: in 
such exercises its very being lieth; its birth, its 
growth, its subsistence dependeth on them ; so that 
from any discontinuance or remission of them it 
would soon decay, languish away, and perish. 

What attention, what circumspection, and vigi- 
lancy of mind, what intention of spirit, what force 
of resolution, what command and care over our- 
selves doth it require, to keep our hearts from vain 
thoughts and evil desires; to guard our tongue 
from wanton, unjust, uncharitable discourse; to 
order our steps uprightly and steadily in all the 

paths of duty? Kal t'l ovk ctt'ittovov tu>v tjj? ctoeT/79; 

And what, as St Chrysostom asketh, of all things 
belonging to virtue is not laborious' '? It is no small 

acfrrJKC to irav civai, "iva pr\ els dnovoiav e'iraipoipeOa, ovre avros to nav 
eXajiev, iva pf) els paOvplav diroKklviapev &c. — Chrys. Or. XXVIII. Opp. 
Tom. v. [p. 173.] 

Ou8e yap »/ nepl to KaXa tS>v avOpamasv iy^tipr^cris Si'^a ttjs ava>8ev 
ftorjdfias TcXeivOrjo-eTai.' ov8e r) avwQev x<*pis «rl t6v pr) <nrov8d£ovra 
TrapayevotT' av. aXX' e'xarepa avyKeKpaadai irpoo-fjKei, (nrovbrjv re 
av0p<DiTivt)i>, Kal ttjv 8ia Ttjs irlcrTeas avaOev KaOrjKovo-av avppaxlav (Is 
TfXflcoo-iv dpfTfjs. — Bas. Const. Mon. cap. xv. [Opp. Tom. n. p. 
558. J 

• v Chrys. in Joh. Horn, xxxvi. [Tom. n. p. 701.] 

Of Industry in general. 365 

task to know it, wherein it consisteth, and what it serm. 

demandeth of us ; it is a far more painful thing to — 

conform our practice unto its rules and dictates. 

If travelling in a rough way; if climbing up a 
steep hill; if combating stern foes, and fighting 
sharp battles ; if crossing the grain of our nature 
and desires; if continually holding a strict rein 
over all our parts and powers, be things of labour 
and trouble, then greatly such is the practice of 
virtue 2 

Indeed, each virtue hath its peculiar difficulty, 
needing much labour to master it : Faith is called i Thess. i. 
epyov 7r/a"rea>s, the work of faith; and it is no such 2 Thess. i. 
easy work, as may be imagined, to bring our hearts j*' hn vi> 
unto a thorough persuasion about truths crossing 2 9- 
our sensual conceits, and controlling our peevish 
humours; unto a perfect submission of our under- 
standing, and resignation of our will to whatever 
God teacheth or prescribeth; to a firm resolution 
of adhering to that profession, which exacteth 
of us so much pains, and exposeth us to so many 

Charity is also a laborious exercise of many 
good works ; and he that will practise it must in 
divers ways labour hardly; he must labour in 
voiding from his soul many dispositions deeply 
radicated therein by nature, opinion, and custom; 
envy, frowardness, stubbornness, perverse and vain 
selfishness; from whence wrath, revenge, spite, and 
malice do spring forth. He must labour in effectual Gai. vi. 10. 

1 Tfjs 8' apcnjs ISpcora 6eo\ TrpoTrdpoidev i'6r)Kav 

AOdvaroi.' paicpos fie Kai opdws oifios fS avrtjv, 

Kal rprj^vs Toirpwrov. 

He?. [Op. et Di. 289.] 

«S66 Of Industry in general. 

serm. performance of all good offices, and in catching all 


i Thess. i. 

occasions of doing good; he must exert that KoVoi; 

ayd-n-w, that Labour of love, whereof St Paul doth 

E e hiv«8 s P ea k; he must (as that holy Apostle directeth, not 

Acts xx. 35. on ]y f n precept, but by his own practice) work 

with his own hands, that he may supply the wants 

of his neighbour. 

Heb. vi. Hope itself (which one would think, when 

i 9 Thess!u grounded well, should be a no less easy than plea- 

3 ' sant duty) doth need much labour to preserve it 

safe, straight, and stable, among the many waves 

and billows of temptation assaying to shake and 

Heb. x. 36; subvert it ; whence a Patience of hope is recom- 

m. 6* '14. mended to us; and we so often are exhorted to 

1 Pet. 1. 10. fold ^ fast, to keep it sure, firm, and unshaken to 

the end. 

Temperance also surely demandeth no small 
pains a ; it being no slight business to check our 
greedy appetites, to shun the enticements of plea- 
sure, to escape the snares of company and example, 
to support the ill-will and reproaches of those 
zealots and bigots for vice, who cannot tolerate any 
nonconformity to their extravagances; but, as St 
iPet.iv.4. Peter doth express it, Think it strange, if others do 
not run with them to the same excess of riot, speaking 
ill of them for it. 

What should I speak of meekness, of patience, 
of humility, of contentedness ? Is it not manifest 
how laborious those virtues are, and what pains 
are necessary in the obtaining, in the exercise of 
them? what pains, I say, they require in the 

Tlavres yap e£ ivbs (TTOfiaros vfivovaiv, cos KaXov fx.iv 17 craKppoavvr) 

T( Ka\ Sikuwitvvt), ^aXfTroi' fxivTOi Kai enlnnvov. ilo Rop. ir. 

[304 A.] 

Of Industry in general. 367 

voidance of fond conceits, in the suppression of serm. 
froward humours, in the quelling fierce passions, in — — - 

the brooking grievous crosses and adversities, in 
the bearing heinous injuries and affronts. 

Thus doth all virtue require much industry, 
and it therefore necessarily must itself be a great 
virtue, which is the mother, the nurse, the guardian 
of all virtues; yea, which, indeed, is an ingredient 
and constitutive part of every virtue ; for if virtue 
were easily obtainable or practicable without a 
good measure of pains, how could it be virtue? 
What excellency could it have, what praise could it 
claim, what reward could it expect? God hath, 
indeed, made the best things not easily obtainable, 
hath set them high out of our reach, to exercise 
our industry in getting them, that we might raise 
up ourselves to them, that being obtained, they 
may the more deserve our esteem, and his reward. 

Lastly, The sovereign good, the last scope of 
our actions, the top and sum of our desires, happi- 
ness itself, or eternal life in perfect rest, joy, and 
glory; although it be the supreme gift of God, 
and special boon of divine grace, (To §e -xapiana tov 
Qeov, But, saith St Paul, the gift of God's grace is Rom. vi. 
eternal life;) yet it also by God himself is declared E P h. ii. 8. 
to be the result and reward of industry; for we are 
commanded, To work out our salvation with fear Phil, a. 12. 
and trembling, and, To give diligence in making a Pet. i. 10. 
our calling and election sure, by virtuous practice ; 
and God, saith St Paul, will render to every man Rom. ii. 6, 
according to his works; to them who, by patient l' 2 !°' V1 ' 
continuance in well doing, seek glory, and honour, 
and immortality, eternal life; and, in the close of 
God's book, it is proclaimed, as a truth of greatest 

368 Of Industry in general. 

seem, moment, and special point of God's will, Blessed 


Eev. xxii. 

are they that do his commandments, that they may 
have right to the tree of life. It is plainly industry, 
Heb. xii. which climbeth the holy mount ; it is industry, 
Matt. xi. which taketh the kingdom of heaven by force ; it 
"cor ix ^ S industry, which so runneth as to obtain the 
I*- . prize, which so fighteth as to receive the crown, 

James 1.12. x _ ' ° ' 

Mattxxiv. which so watcheth as to secure our everlasting 
13.' interest to us. 

37 u e xn ' Thus do the choicest good things, of which we 

Rev. in. 3. are ca p a ]3i e5 S p r i n g from industry, or depend upon 

it; and no considerable good can be attained with- 
out it thus all the gifts of God are by it conveyed 
to us, or are rendered in effect beneficial to us ; for 
the gifts of nature are but capacities which it 
improveth; the gifts of fortune or providence are 
but instruments, which it employeth to our use; 
the gifts of grace are the supports and succours 
of it; and the very gift of glory is its fruit and 

There are, further, several other material con- 
siderations and weighty motives to the practice of 
this duty, which meditation hath suggested to me: 
but these, in regard to your patience, must suffice 
at present; the other (together with an application 
proper to our condition and calling) being reserved 
to another occasion. 



Eccles. IX. IO. 

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy 


NDUSTRY, which the divine Preacher in this serm. 
- text recommendeth to us, is a virtue of a very '— 

diffusive nature and influence ; stretching itself 
through all our affairs, and twisting itself with 
every concern we have ; so that no business can be 
well managed, no design accomplished, no good 
obtained without it: it therefore behoveth us to 
conceive a high opinion of it, and to inure our 
souls to the practice of it, upon all occasions : in fur- 
therance of which purposes I formerly, not long 
since, did propound several motives and induce- 
ments; and now proceeding on, shall represent 
divers other considerations serviceable to the same 

i We may consider, that industry is produc- 
tive of ease itself, and preventive of trouble: it was 
no less solidly, than acutely and smartly advised 
by the philosopher Crates, Whether, said he, labour 
be to be chosen, labour ; or whether it be to be es- 
chewed, labour, that thou may est not labour; for 
by not labouring, labour is not escaped, but is rather 
b. s. VOL. III. 24 

370 Of Industry in general. 

seem, pursued"; and St Chrysostom doth upon the same 

. x ^ consideration urge industry, because, Sloth, saith he, 

is wont to spoil us, and to yield us much pain . No 
man can cozen nature, escaping the labour to which 
he was born ; but rather attempting it, will delude 
himself, then finding most, when he shunneth all 

Sloth, indeed, doth affect ease and quiet, but by 
affecting them doth lose them; it hateth labour and 
trouble, but by hating them doth incur them ; it is 
a self-destroying vice, not suffering those who 
cherish it to be idle, but creating much work, and 
multiplying pains unto them ; engaging them into 
divers necessities and straits, which they cannot 
support with ease, and out of which, without ex- 
treme trouble, they cannot extricate themselves : of 
this the Preacher doth afford us a plain instance; 
Eccies. x. By much, slothfulness, saith he, the building de- 
cayeth, and through idleness of the hands the house 
droppeth through. A little care taken at first 
about repairing the house, would have saved its 
decay and ruin, and consequently the vast charge 
and trouble, becoming needful to re-edify it : and 
the like doth happen in most other cases and 
occurrences of life: idleness commonly doth let 
slip opportunities and advantages, which cannot 
with ease be retrieved; it letteth things fall into 
a bad case, out of which they can hardly be 

~E.i8 alperbv 6 novos irover eire <f)evKrov, novel, "va p,r/ ttovtjs- bia 
yap tov fir) noveiv oil (ptvyeTai ttovos, raj 6<f evai'Tito Kai SttoKfTat. — 
Crati.'K, lip. iv. [Variorum Epistohe. Aldus. 1499. J 

'H dpyia btatyddpav 17/xu? ciuOe kcu tto\vu napt^eiv tov ttovov. — 
Clnys. in Joh. Horn, xxxvi. [Opp. Tom. n. p. 701.] 

Of Industry in general. 371 

The certain consequences of it (disgrace, penury, seem. 

want of experience, disobliging and losing friends, 

with all the like mischiefs) cannot be supported 
without much disquiet; and they disable a man 
from redressing the inconveniences into which he 
is plunged. 

But industry, by a little voluntary labour taken 
in due place and season, doth save much necessary 
labour afterward, and by moderate care doth prevent 
intolerable distress; and the fruits of it (wealth, 
reputation, skill, and dexterity in affairs, friendships, 
all advantages of fortune) do enable a man to pass 
his life with great ease, comfort, and delight. 

2 Industry doth beget ease, by procuring good 
habits, and facility of acting things expedient for 
us to do. By taking pains to-day we shall need 
less pains to-morrow; and by continuing the ex- 
ercise, within a while we shall need no pains at all, 
but perform the most difficult tasks of duty, or of 
benefit to us, with perfect ease, yea commonly with 
great pleasure. What sluggish people account 
hard and irksome (as to rise early, to hold close to 
study or business, to bear some hardship) will be 
natural and sweet; as proceeding from another 
nature, raised in us by use. 

Industry doth breed assurance and courage, 
needful for the undertaking and prosecution of all 
necessary business, or for the performance of all 
duties incumbent on us. 

No man can quite decline business, or disengage 
himself from duty, without infinite damage and 
mischief accruing to himself: but these an indus- 
trious man (confiding in this efficacious quality) 
will set upon with alacrity, and despatch with 


372 Of Industry in general. 

serm. facility, his diligence voiding obstacles, and smooth- 

— ing the way to him ; whenas idleness, finding some 

difficulties, and fancying more, soon dishearteneth, 
and causeth a man to desist from action, rather 
choosing to crouch under the burden, than, by 
endeavour to carry it through, to discharge himself 
thereof: whence as to an industrious man things 
seeming difficult will prove easy, so to a slothful 
person the easiest things will appear impossible; 
Prov. xv. according to Solomon's observation : The way, saith 
I9 ' he, of a slothful man c is an hedge of thorns, but the 

way of the upright is made plain; where, as a 
slothful man, being apt to neglect his obligations, is 
opposed to an upright man, who hath a consciona- 
ble regard to them, and is willing to take pains in 
the discharge of them ; so it is declared, that to the 
one the way is rough and spinose, to the other 
beaten and expedite, 
xxii. i 3; And again, The slothful man, saith he, doth say, 

XXVI. I 3 rm * * 

There is a lion without, 1 shall be slain in the 
streets 6 -: he is very apt to conceit, or to pretend 
imaginary difficulties and hazards, and thence to be 
deterred from going about his business, or doing 
his duty. This consideration St Chrysostom doth 
propose, exciting to an earnest pursuit of virtue; 
because, There is, saith he, nothing so easy, which 
our great sloth doth not represent very grievous and 
burdensome; nothing so painful and difficult, which 
diligence and willingness do not shew to be very easy e 

???{• 'OSot aepyav eo-rpa>/*eW a.Kav6ais, al 3e tcov dvdpeiaiv 
TtTpi\J.\xivai. — LXX. 

Upo(paari(tTai. Ka\ Xt'yet oKvrfpbs, A/cok ev Tais 68o7s, tv de rail 
TrXarflais cj>ov(vral. LXX. 

Oufif'i/ oi'rior ia-Ti pqbwu, 6 fifj vfpoSpa fiapii K a\ inaxOts 6 TroXvr 

Of Industry in general. 373 

3 We may consider, that industry will sweeten seem. 

all our enjoyments, and season them with a grate- 

ful relish; for as no man can well enjoy himself, or 

find sound content in any thing, while business or 
duty lie unfinished on his hand ; so when he hath 
done his best toward the despatch of his work, he 
will then comfortably take his ease, and enjoy his 
pleasure ; then his food doth taste savourily, then 
his divertisements and recreations have a lively 
gustfulness, then his sleep is very sound and plea- 
sant, according to that of the Preacher, The sleep Eccies. v. 
of a labouring man* is sweet. 

4 Especially those accommodations prove most 
delightful, which our industry hath procured to us ; 
we looking on them with a special tenderness of 
affection, as on the children of our endeavour; we 
being sensible at what costs of care and pain we 
did purchase them 8 , If a man getteth wealth by 
fraud or violence, if he riseth to preferment by 
flattery, detraction, or any bad arts, he can never 
taste any good savour, or find sound comfort in 
them ; and from what cometh merely by chance, as 
there is no commendation due, so much satisfaction 
will not arise. It is the Wise Man's observation, 

The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in p r ov. xii. 
hunting, and therefore it cannot be very grateful to 27 ' 
him; but, addeth he, The substance of a diligent 
man is precious; that is, what a man compasseth 

bt'iKWcnv okvos rjfuv uxjirtp ht'vnovov /cm Snooper, 6 ^17 Xiav tv^okov 

17 a-iTovdrj nal 17 irpoBvpia. — Chrys. ad Dem. [Opp. Tom. VI. p. 144.] 

Ta jkv pqdta tovs apeXovvras (pevyei, ra 8e ^aX?7ra rats empekeiais 

aXia-Kcrm — Plut. de Liber. Educ. [Opp. Tom. vi. p. 5. Ed. Reisk.J 

Toil BovXov. — LXX. 

8 Cui sit conditio dulcis sine pulvere palmse ? — 

Hor. Ep. 1. 1. [51.] 

374 Of Industry in general. 

seem, by honest industry, that he is apt highly to prize; 
XLV : he triumpheth in it, and (in St Paul's sense inno- 

iCar. ix. cent ^ boasteth of it; he feeleth a solid pleasure 
and a pure complacency therein: the manner of 
getting it doth more please him than the thing 
itself; as true hunters do love the sport more than 
the quarry, and generous "warriors more rejoice in 
the victory than in the spoil; for, Our soul, as St 
Chrysostom discourseth, is more affected with those 
things, for which it hath laboured ; for which reason, 
addeth he, God hath mixed labours with virtue 
itself, that he might endear it to us h . Yea 

5 The very exercise of industry immediately 
in itself is delightful, and hath an innate satisfac- 
tion, which tempereth all annoyances, and even 
ingratiateth the pains going with it. 

The very settlement of our mind on fit objects, 
or its acquiescence in determinate action conduc- 
ing to a good end, whereby we are freed of doubt, 
distraction, and fastidious listlessness, doth minister 
content. The reflection upon our having embraced 
a wise choice, our proceeding in a fair way, our 
being in chase of a good purpose, doth breed com- 
placence. To consider that we are spending our 
time accountably, and improving our talents to 
good advantage, (to the service of God, the benefit 
of our neighbour, the bettering of our own state,) 
is very cheering and comfortable. And whereas, 

Prov. xiv. In all labour, as the Wise Man telleth us, there is 
profit, the foresight of that profit affordeth pleasure, 

lie pi (Kfiva fiaXXov 17 ifrvxrj SianeiTai, vnep a>v eicafie- Sia tovto Kai 
rrovous avepi^cv dpcTrj oiKeiuxjai ai)TJj TavTTjv /3ov\6p.evos. Chrys. in 

Joh. Horn, xxxvi. [Tom. 11. p. 701.] 

Of Industry in general. 375 

the foretasting the good fruits of our industry is serm. 

very delicious. Hope, indeed, doth ever wait on — 

industry : and what is more delightful than hope ? ' Cor - k - 
This is the incentive, the support, the condiment Hel ?- m : 6 - 
of all honest labour 1 ; in virtue whereof the hus- 10. 
bandman toileth, the merchant trudgeth, the 2 c'or. m. 
scholar ploddeth, the soldier dareth with alacrity J 2 j ohniii 
and courage, not resenting any pains, not re- s- . 
garding any hazards, which attend their under- ^ il J 3- 
takings : this the holy Apostles tell us did enable 
them with joy to sustain all their painful work 
and hazardous warfare; enjoining us also as to Pta. a. n. 

t . , -. r, . . . , Rom. xii. 

work with tear, so to rejoice m hope. 12. 

In fine, industry doth free us from great displea- 
sure, by redeeming us from the molestations of 
idleness, which is the most tedious and irksome 
thing in the world, racking our soul with anxious 
suspense and perplexing distraction k ; starving it 
for want of satisfactory entertainment, or causing 
it to feed on its own heart by doleful considerations; 
infesting it with crowds of frivolous, melancholic, 
troublesome, stinging thoughts; galling it with a 
sense of our squandering away precious time, of our 
slipping fair opportunities, of our not using the 
abilities and advantages granted us, to any profit 
or fruit: whence St Chrysostom saith very truly, 
What is there more unpleasant, more painful, 

1 Ipsa operis difficultate lsetus, spem segetis de labore metitur. 
— Apud Aug. Ep. cxlii [ad Demet. Opp. Tom. 11, App. col. 

k Otio qui nescit uti, plus negoti habet, 

Quam cum est negotium in negotio. 

Otioso in otio animus nescit, quid relit. — 

Ennius [Iphig. Frag, iv.] apud Aul. Gell. xix. 10. 

376 Of Industry in general. 

seem. m ore miserable, than a man that hath nothing to 


do? Is not this, saith he, worse than ten thousand 

chains, to hang in suspense, and he continually 
gaping, looking on those who are present 1 ? Indeed 
the strictest imprisonment is far more tolerable, 
than being under restraint by a lazy humour from 
profitable employment : this enchaineth a man hand 
and foot with more than iron fetters: this is 
beyond any imprisonment; it is the very entomb- 
ment of a man™ quite in effect sequestering him 
from the world, or debarring him from any valu- 
able concerns therein. And if liberty be, 'E^ovaia 
avToirpaylas, A power of doing what one liheth best n ; 
then is he, who by his sloth is disabled from 
doing any thing, wherein he can find any rea- 
sonable satisfaction, the veriest slave that can be; 
from which slavery industry freeing us, and dispos- 
ing us to perform cheerfully whatever is convenient, 
thereby doeth us a great pleasure. Further, 

6 Let us consider, that industry doth afford 
a lasting comfort, deposited in the memory and 
conscience of him that practiseth it. It will ever, 
upon his reviewing the passages of his life, be 
sweet to him to behold in them testimonies and 
monuments of his diligence ; it will please him to 
consider, that he hath lived to purpose, having 
done somewhat considerable; that he hath made 

Kai ti tnjSto-rcpov yevoir av avdpcotrov ovhev ex oVTOi iroulv ; ri 

fioxBlportpOf ; ri TokanrwpoTepov ; pvpicov oil xetpov tovto Sco-pwv, 

Xao-fxaa-dai Ka\ Kcxrjvtvat SumavTos eVi rfjs ayopas KaOrjfievov, op&vra 

roils irapiovras ; — Chrys. in Act. Or. xxxv. [Opp. Tom. iv. p. 810.] 

m Otium [sine litoris mors] est [et] vivi hominis sepultura. — 

[Sen. Ep. LXXXII.J 

[Eirai yap rfjv i\ev6eplav e^ova-iav avronpaylas. Diog. Laert. 

(Vit. Zonon.) vn. i. 64.] 

Of Industry in general. 377 

an advantageous use of his time : that he hath well seem. 

husbanded the talents committed to him ; that he 

hath accomplished (in some measure) the intents of 
God's bounty, and made some return for his excel- 
lent gifts. What comfort, indeed, can any man 
have, yea, how sore remorse must he feel, in reflect- 
ing upon a life spent in unfruitful and unprofitable 
idleness? How can he otherwise than bewail his 
folly and baseness in having lived (or rather having 
only been ) in vain ; as the shadow and appearance 
of a man; in having lavished his days, in having 
buried his talents, in having embezzled his faculties 
of nature, and his advantages from Providence ; in 
having defeated the good-will of God, and endea- 
voured no requital to the munificent goodness of 
his Maker, of his Preserver, his benign Lord and Matt. xxv - 
Master, his gracious Saviour and Redeemer? How, 
without confusion, can he in his mind revolve, that 
he hath nowise benefited the world, and profited 
his neighbour, or obliged his friends, or rendered to 
his country (to the society or community of which 
he is a member) amends for all the safety and 
quiet, the support, the convenience, and the plea- 
sure he hath enjoyed under its protection, and in 
its bosom? that he hath not borne a competent 
share in the common burdens, or paid a due con- 
tribution of his care and labour to the public wel- 
fare? How can such a man look inward upon 
himself with a favourable eye, or pardon himself 
for so loathsome defaults? 

7 Let us consider, that industry doth argue a 
generous and ingenuous complexion of soul. 

It implieth a mind not content with mean and 

Diu fuit, non diu vixit. 

378 Of Industry in general. 

ser.m. vulgar things, (such as nature dealeth to all, or 

fortune scattereth about,) but aspiring to things of 

high worth, and pursuing them in a brave way, 
with adventurous courage, by its own forces, 
through difficulties and obstacles. 

It signifieth in a man a heart, not enduring to 
owe the sustenance or convenience of his life to the 
labour or the liberality of others ; to pilfer a liveli- 
hood from the world ; to reap the benefit of other 
men's care and toil, without rendering a full com- 
pensation, or outdoing his private obligations by 
considerable service and beneficence to the public. 
A noble heart will disdain to subsist like a drone 
upon the honey gathered by others' labour; like a 
vermin to filch its food out of the public granary; 
or like a shark to prey on the lesser fry; but will 
one way or other earn his subsistence : for he that 
doth not earn, can hardly own his bread, as St 
2 Thts.?. ui. Paul implieth, when he saith, Them that are such 
we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, 
that with quietness they work, and eat their own 

bread, tov etxvTwv aprov. 

Of this generous ingenuity we have a notable 

i Cnr. i x . instance in that great Apostle himself; which he 

°* doth often represent as a pattern to us, professing 

much complacence therein. He with all right and 

^Thess.iii. reason might have challenged a comfortable subsis- 

i Cor. ix. tence from his disciples, in recompense for the 

! Thess. ii. incomparable benefits he did confer on them, and 

of the excessive pains he did endure for their good : 

this he knew well; but yet did rather choose to 

support himself by his own labour, than anywise to 

Acts xx. seem burdensome or troublesome to them: These 

hands, said he, have ministered to my necessities, 



Of Industry in general. 379 

and to them that are with me. I have shewed you serm. 


all things, that so labouring ye ought to support 
the weak, and to remember the words of our Lord ^ 
Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to ^ Thess - m - 
receive. This was the practice of him, who was in I Cor - iy - 
labours most abundant ; and such is the genius of 2 Cor. xi. 
every man, who upon principles of conscience, rea- 
son, and honour, is industrious. Of him it may be 
said, as of Solomon's good housewife, She seeketh Prov.xxxi. 
wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her 
hands; she is like the merchants' ship, she bringeth 
her food from afar; she looketh well to her house- 
hold, and eateth not the bread of idleness. 

Sloth is a base quality, the argument of a mind 
wretchedly degenerate and mean; which is content 
to grovel in a despicable state ; which aimeth at no 
worthy thing, nor pursueth any thing in a laudable 
way; which disposeth a man to live gratis (pre- 
cariously) and ingratefully on the public stock, as 
an insignificant cipher among men, as a burden 
of the earth, as a wen of any society; sucking ali- 
ment from it, but yielding no benefit or ornament 

8 Industry is a fence to innocence and virtue ; 
a bar to all kinds of sin and vice, guarding the ave- 
nues of our heart, keeping off the occasions and 
temptations to vicious practice. When a man is 
engaged in honest employment, and seriously in- 
tent thereon, his mind is prepossessed and filled, so 
that there is no room or vacancy for ill thoughts or 
base designs to creep in ; his senses do not lie open 
to ensnaring objects; he wants leisure and oppor- 
tunity of granting audience to the solicitations of 
sinful pleasure ; and is apt to answer them with a 

380 Of Industry in general. 

serm. non vacat; the Devil can hardly find advantage of 

—- 1- tempting him p , at least many devils cannot get 

access to him, according to that observation in 
Cassian, A working monk is assaulted by one devil, 
but an idle one is spoiled by numberless bad spirits' 1 . 
The case of men ordinarily is like to that of ^Egis- 

Ne nil ageretur, amavit r ; 

rather than do nothing, he was ready to do ill ; he 
not having business to employ his thoughts, wanton 
desires did insinuate themselves into his heart, and 
transported him to that disastrous wickedness, 
which supplied matter to so many tragedies; and 
the like instance the Sacred History suggesteth in 

i Sam. xi. J^ m g David, who, walking, it is said, on the roof of 
his house, his mind then roving, and being untacked 
from honest cares, that temptation seized on him, 
whereby he was plunged into that woful misde- 
meanour, which did create to him so much sorrow, 
did make such a spot in his life, and leave such a 
blur on his memory; whence yet we may draw 
some benefit, taking it as a profitable document 
and warning, how idleness doth expose the best 
men to danger. 

Idleness is, indeed, the nursery of sins, which as 
naturally grow up therein as weeds in a neglected 

EccIub. field, or insects in a standing puddle: Idleness 

xxxiu. 27. ' _ or' 

teacheth much evil. It is the general trap, whereby 

p Semper te diabolus inveniat occupatum. — Bern. Form. 
Honest. Vitce. v. [Opp. Tom. v. fol. 296. col. 2. J 

q [Hebc est apud ^Egyptum ab antiquis patribus sancita 
sententia,] operantem monachum dsemono uno pulsari : otiosum 
vero innumeris spiritibus devastari. — Cass, de Instit. x. 23. [Opp. 
Tom. 1. p. 434 ] 

r Ovid. Rem. A.m. [167. J 

Of Industry in general. 381 

every tempter assay eth to catch our soul: for the seem. 

. . XLV 

mind being loose from care, Satan is ready to step 

in with his suggestions, the world presenteth its 
allurements, fleshly desires rise up ; proud, fro ward, 
wanton cogitations slip in ; ill company doth entice, 
ill example is regarded, every temptation doth 
object and impress itself with great advantage and 
force; men in such a case being apt to close and 
comply with temptations, even to divert their mind 
and entertain themselves, to cure their listlessness, 
to pass their time, committing sin for want of 
better occupation 8 Hence in places where there is 
least work, the worst sins do most prevail; and 
idleness therefore was by the Prophet reckoned one 
of the three great sins of Sodom, parents of the 
rest : Behold, saith Ezekiel, this was the iniquity o/'Ezek. xvi. 
thy sister Sodom; pride, fulness of bread, and abun- 49 ' 
dance of idleness was in her: hence it seldom doth 
happen in any way of life, that a sluggard and a 
rakehell do not go together ; or that he who is idle 
is not also dissolute. 

9 Particularly industry doth prevent the sins 
of vain curiosity, pragmaticalness, troublesome im- 
pertinency, and the like pests of common life, into 
which persons not diligently following their own 
business will assuredly fall. We hear, saith St 
Paul to the Thessalonians, that there are some who 
walk among you disorderly; working not at all, but 
are busybodies* It is no wonder, if they did not 

s Si non 

Intendes animum studiis et rebus honestis, 
Invidia vel amore vigil torquebere. — 

Hor. Ep. i. 2. [35.] 
Mrjbev tpya^ofievovs, dWa TrfpKpya^ofjitvovi, Working nothing 
but over-working. — 2 Thess. iii. 11. 

382 Of Industry in general. 

seem, work at all, that they should walk disorderly; or 

— — that quite neglecting their own concerns, they 

should irepiep'ya^eadai, over-worh, or be too busy 
in matters not belonging to them, intruding them- 
selves into the affairs of their neighbours : for there 
is a natural connection between these things; since 
every man must be thinking, must be doing, must 
be saying somewhat, to spend his leisure, to uphold 
conversation, to please himself, and gratify others, 
to appear somebody among his companions; to 
avoid the shame of being quite out of employment; 
wherefore not having the heart to mind his own 
affairs, he will take the boldness to meddle with 
the concerns of other men; if he cannot have the 
substance, he will set up an idol of business, and 
seem very active in his impertinency ; in order 
thereto, being curiously inquisitive, and prying 
into the discourse, actions, and affairs of all men. 
This men are apt to do in their own defence : and 
besides, idleness doth put men into a loose, garish, 
wanton humour, disposing them without heed or 
regard to meddle with any thing, to prattle at any 
rate. In fine, whoever hath no work at home, will 
be gadding to seek entertainment abroad, like those 
i Tim. v. gossips of whom St Paul saith, They learn to he 
idle, wandering about from house to house; and not 
only idle, but tattlers also, and busybodies, speaking 
things which they ought not. If, indeed, we consider 
all the frivolous and petulant discourse, the imper- 
tinent chattings, the rash censures, the spiteful 
detractions which are so rife in the world, and so 
much poison all conversation, we shall find the 
main root of them to be a want of industry in men, 
or of diligent attendance on their own matters; 

Of Industry in general. 383 

which would so much take up their spirit and seem. 

time, that they would have little heart or leisure to — 

search into or comment upon other men's actions 
and concerns. 

10 Let us consider, that industry is needful in 
every condition and station, in every calling and 
way of life : in all relations, for our good behaviour, 
and right discharge of our duty in them. Without 
it we cannot in any state act decently or usefully, 
either to the benefit and satisfaction of others, or 
to our own advantage and comfort. 

Are we rich? Then is industry requisite for 
keeping and securing our wealth, for managing it 
wisely, for employing it to its proper uses and best 
advantages, (in the service of God, in beneficence 
to our neighbour, in advancing public good;) so 
that we may render a good account to him who 
hath intrusted us with the stewardship thereof: 
industry is very needful to guard us from the 
temptations and mischiefs to which wealth doth 
expose us, that it do not prove a treacherous snare, 
an unwieldy burden, a destructive poison and 
plague to us, throwing us into pride and vanity, 
into luxury, into stupidity, into distracting solici- 
tude, into a base, worldly, and earthly temper of 
heart, into a profane oblivion of God, and of our 
own souls. 

Are we in conspicuous rank of dignity, or in 
honour and repute among men? Then is industry 
requisite to keep us fast in that state, to hold us 
from tumbling from that pinnacle down into ex- 
treme disgrace; for then all eyes are upon us, 
strictly observing what we do, and ready to pass 
censure on our actions; so that great diligence is 

384 Of Industry in general. 

serm. necessary to approve ourselves, and shun obloquy - 

— — Nothing is more brittle than honour"; every little 

cces.x.i. ^ n g ^ting on it is able to break it, and therefore 
without exceeding care we cannot preserve it. 
Nothing is more variable or fickle than the opinions 
of men, (wherein honour consisteth;) it is there- 
fore no- easy matter to fix or detain them in the 
same place. 

Honour cannot live without food or fuel; it 
must be nourished by worthy actions ; without a 
continual supply of them it will decay, languish, 
and pine away: industry therefore is required to 
keep it; and no less is necessary to use it well, in 
a due subordination to God's honour, and reference 
to his service, that, instead of an ornament and 
convenience, it do not prove a baneful mischief to 
us; puffing up our minds with vain conceits and 
complacencies, inclining us to arrogance and con- 
tempt of others, tempting us, by assuming to our- 
selves, to rob God of his due glory; to decline which 
evils great care is requisite ; we must have a steady 
ballast, and we must hold the rudder warily, when 
we carry so great sail. 

On the other hand, are we poor and low in the 
world; or do we lie under disgrace? Then do we 
much need industry to shun extremities of want 
and ignominy; that we be not swallowed up and 
overwhelmed by need or contempt; to support us 
under our pressures, to keep up our spirits from 
dejection and disconsolateness ; to preserve us from 
impious discontentedness and impatience : industry 
is the only remedy of that condition, enabling us 

Vitrea faraa. — 

Hor. [Sat. 11. 3. 222.J 

Of Industry in general. 385 

to get out of it, retrieving a competence of wealth serm. 
or credit; or disposing us to bear it handsomely, — - — 
and with comfort; so as not to become forlorn or 
abject wretches. 

It is so needful to every condition ; and it is so 
for all vocations; for, 

Is a man a governor, or a superior in any 
capacity? Then what is he but a public servant, 
doomed to continual labour, hired for the wages 
of respect and pomp, to wait on his people; in 
providing for their needs, protecting their safety, 
preserving their peace and welfare : where is he 
but on a stage, whereon he cannot well act his 
part, without vigilant attendance to his charge, and 
constant activity in performing all the functions 
thereof? He is engaged in great obligations and 
necessities of using extreme diligence, both in 
regard to himself and others. Homer's description 
of a prince is a good one; One who hath much 
people, and many cares committed to him: 

SI Xaol t emreTpacpaTai, Ka\ t6<t<to. p.€fj,r]\e x . 

He mast watchfully look to his own steps, who is 
to guide others by his authority and his example. 
All his actions require special conduct, not only 
his own credit and interest, but the common wel- 
fare depending thereon. He must needfully advise 
what to do, he must diligently execute what he 
resolveth on. He hath the most ticklish things 
that can be (the rights and interests, the opinions 
and humours of men) to manage. He hath his 
own affections to curb and guide, that they be not 
perverted by any sinister respects, not swayed by 
any unjust partiality, not corrupted by flattery or 

x [II. II. 25 ] 
B. S. VOL. III. 25 

386 Of Industry in general. 

8 ™. f ear . He will find, that to wield power innocently, 

to brandish the sword of justice discreetly and 

worthily, for- the maintenance of right, and encou- 
ragement of virtue, for the suppression of injury, 
and correction of vice, is a matter of no small skill 
or slight care. 

Industry is, indeed, a quality most proper for 
persons of high rank and dignity, or of great power 
and authority; who have special opportunities to 
employ it in weighty affairs to great advantage; 
whose undertakings being of vast moment, do need 
answerable efforts to move and guide them. The 
industry of a mechanic or a rustic, acting in a low 
and narrow sphere, can effect no great matter, and 
therefore itself need not to be great : but the in- 
dustry of a prince, of a nobleman, of a gentleman, 
may have a large and potent influence, so as to 
render a nation, a county, a town, happy, pros- 
perous, glorious, flourishing in peace, in plenty, in 
virtue; it therefore for achieving such purposes 
need be, and should be proportionably great; a 
small power not being able to move a great weight, 
nor a weak cause to produce a mighty effect. 
Wherefore Cicero recommending Pompey for a 
public charge, doth reckon these to be the impera- 
toricB virtutes, qualities befitting a prince, or general, 
wherein he did excel, Labour in business, valour in 
dangers, industry in acting, nimbleness in 'perform- 
ance, counsel in providing^ And Alexander the 
Great, reflecting on his friends degenerating into 
sloth and luxury, told them, that, It was a most 

y Noquo enim illao sunt solae virtutes imporatorise— Labor in 
ncgotio, fortitudo in periculis, industria in agendo, celoritas in con- 
ficicndo, consilium in providendo, &c. — Cic. pro Lego Manil. [cap. 
xi. 29. J 

Of Industry in general. 387 

slavish thing to luxuriate, and a most royal thing to s ^y' 
labour 7, 

And for those who move in a lower orb of 
subjection or service, I need not shew how needful 
industry is for them. Who knoweth not that to be 
a good subject, doth exact a careful regard to the 
commands of superiors, and a painful diligence in 
observing them? that to make a good servant, 
fidelity and diligence must concur? whereof the 
first doth suppose the last, it being a part of honesty 
in a servant to be diligent; whence, Tiov^pe SodXe Kal 
oKvrjpe, O thou wicked and slothful servant, were in Matt. xxv. 
the Gospel well coupled; and the first epithet was 
grounded on the second, he being therefore wicked, 
because he had been slothful. 

Neither can a man be a true friend, or a good 
neighbour, or anywise a good relative, without 
industry disposing him to undergo pains in per- 
forming good offices, whenever need doth require, 
or occasion invite. 

In fine, it is palpable, that there is no calling 
of any sort, from the sceptre to the spade, the 
management whereof with any good success, any 
credit, any satisfaction, doth not demand much 
work of the head, or of the hand, or of both. 

If wit or wisdom be the head, if honesty be the 
heart, industry is the right hand of every vocation ; 
without which the shrewdest insight and the best 
intention can execute nothing. A sluggard is 
qualified for no office, no calling, no station among 
men ; he is a mere nobody, taking up room, pestering 
and clogging the world. 

z AovkiKwrciTov fj.iv iarri to rpvcpav, fiaaikiKioTaTov be to ttovcIv. — 
Plut. in Alex. Opp. Tom. vi. p. 1262. Ed. Steph. 


388 Of Industry in general. 

seem- ii It also may deserve our consideration, that 

it is industry, whereto the public state of the world, 

and of each commonweal therein, is indebted for 
its being, in all conveniences and embellishments 
belonging to life, advanced above rude and sordid 
barbarism; yea, whereto mankind doth owe all 
that good learning, that morality, those improve- 
ments of soul, which elevate us beyond brutes. 

To industrious study is to be ascribed the 
invention and perfection of all those arts whereby 
human life is civilized, and the world cultivated 
with numberless accommodations, ornaments, and 
beauties. All the comely, the stately, the pleasant, 
and useful works which we do view with delight, or 
enjoy with comfort, industry did contrive them, 
industry did frame them. 

Industry reared those magnificent fabrics, and 
those commodious houses; it formed those goodly 
pictures and statues; it raised those convenient 
causeways, those bridges, those aqueducts; it 
planted those fine gardens with various flowers 
and fruits; it clothed those pleasant fields with 
corn and grass; it built those ships, whereby we 
plough the seas, reaping the commodities of foreign 
regions. It hath subjected all creatures to our 
command and service, enabling us to subdue the 
fiercest, to catch the wildest, to render the gentler 
sort most tractable and useful to us. It taught 
us from the wool of the sheep, from the hair 
of the goat, from the labours of the silkworm, to 
weave us clothes to keep us warm, to make us 
fine and gay It helped us from the inmost 
bowels of the earth to fetch divers needful tools 
and utensils. 

Of Industry in general. 389 

It collected mankind into cities, and compacted serm. 

them into orderly societies, and devised wholesome — 

laws, under shelter whereof we enjoy safety and 
peace, wealth and plenty, mutual succour and de- 
fence, sweet conversation and beneficial commerce. 

It by meditation did extund all those sciences 
whereby our minds are enriched and enabled, our 
manners are refined and polished, our curiosity is 
satisfied, our life is benefited* 

What is there which we admire, or wherein 
we delight, that pleaseth our mind, or gratifieth 
our sense, for the which we are not beholden to 
industry ? 

Doth any country flourish in wealth, in grandeur, 
in prosperity ? It must be imputed to industry, to 
the industry of its governors settling good order, 
to the industry of its people following profitable 
occupations; so did Cato, in that notable oration 
of his in Sallust b , tell the Roman senate, that 
it was not by the force of their arms, but by the 
industry of their ancestors, that commonwealth did 
arise to such a pitch of greatness. When sloth 
creepeth in, then all things corrupt and decay; 
then the public state doth sink into disorder, 
penury, and a disgraceful condition. 

12 Industry is commended to us by all sorts 
of examples, deserving our regard and imitation. 
All nature is a copy thereof, and the whole world 
a glass, wherein we may behold this duty repre- 
sented to us. We may easily observe every creature 

a Ut varias us us meditando extunderet artes 

Paullatim, &c. — 

Virg. Georg. i. [133.J 
b Cat. apud Sallust. in Bello Catil. [cap. ui.J 

390 Of Industry in general. 

serm. about us incessantly working toward the end for 

— —which it was designed, indefatigably exercising 

the powers with which it is endued, diligently- 
observing the laws of its creation. Even beings 
void of reason, of sense, of life itself, do suggest 
unto us resemblances of industry; they being 
set in continual action toward the effecting rea- 
sonable purposes, conducing to the preservation of 
their own beings, or to the furtherance of common 

The heavens do roll about with incessant 
motion ; the sun and stars do perpetually dart their 
influences ; the earth is ever labouring in the birth 
and nourishment of plants ; the plants are drawing 
sap, and sprouting out fruits and seeds, to feed us 
and propagate themselves; the rivers are running, 
the seas are tossing, the winds are blustering, to 
keep the elements sweet in which we live. 

Solomon sendeth us to the ant, and biddeth us 
Prov. vi. to consider her ways, Which provideth her meat in 
the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. 
Many such instructors we may find in Nature ; the 
like industrious providence we may observe in every 
living creature; we may see this running about, 
that swimming, another flying in purveyance of its 
food and support. 

If we look up higher to rational and intelligent 
natures, still more noble and apposite patterns do 
object themselves to us. 

Here below every field, every shop, every 
street, the Hall, the Exchange, the Court itself, (all 
full of business, and fraught with the fruits of 
industry) do mind us how necessary industry is 
to us. 

Of Industry in general. 391 

If we consult History, we shall there find, that seem. 
the best men have been most industrious ; that all 

great persons, renowned for heroical goodness, (the 
worthy patriarchs, the holy prophets, the blessed 
apostles,) were for this most commendable; that, 
neglecting their private ease, they did undertake 
difficult enterprises, they did undergo painful la- 
bours for the benefit of mankind; they did pass 
their days, like St Paul, 'Ei> koVw kuI mox^ in 2 Cor.xi 
labours and toilsome pains, for those purposes. * 7 ' 

Our great example, the life of our blessed Lord 
himself, what was it but one continual exercise of Acts x. 38, 
labour? His mind did ever stand bent in careful 
attention, studying to do good. His body was 
ever moving in wearisome travel to the same 
divine intent. 

If we yet soar further in our meditation to the 
superior regions, we shall there find the blessed 
inhabitants of heaven, the courtiers and ministers 
of God, very busy and active; they do vigilantly 
wait on God's throne in readiness to receive and 
to despatch his commands; they are ever on the 
wing, and fly about like lightning to do his plea- p s . dii. 21, 
sure. They are attentive to our needs, and ever f. '^lTi. 
ready to protect, to assist, to relieve us ! Especially, 
they are diligent guardians and succourers of good 
men: Officious ministers sent forth to minister for Heb.i. 14. 
the heirs of salvation: so even the seat of perfect 
rest is no place of idleness. 

Yea, God himself, although immoveably and 
infinitely happy, is yet immensely careful, and 

c 2<5 8e 6pova> 7rvpoevTi irapeoraariv iro\vp.o-^6oi 

"AyyeXoi — 

Orph. [Frag. in. 9. p. 454. Ed. Hermann.] 

892 Of Industry in general. 

serm. everlastingly busy: he rested once from that great 
XLV work of creation; but yet, My Father, saith our 

Gen. xxxi. 

Johnv! i 7 . Lord, worketh still; and he never will rest from his 
Ps.cxxi. 3 ; W orks of providence and of grace. His eyes con- 
Zeci^'iv.' tinue watchful over the world, and his hands 
2°chron. stretched out in upholding it. He hath a singular 
]S'c 9 iv. regard to every creature, supplying the needs of 
Prov 6 v2i- ea °k> an( * satisfying the desires of all d . 
xv - 3- . ' And shall we alone be idle, while all things are 
^s.xxxiv. ^ ^usy? Shall we keep our hands in our bosom, 
or stretch ourselves on our beds of laziness, while 
all the world about us is hard at work in pursuing 
the designs of its creation? Shall we be wanting to 
ourselves, while so many things labour for our 
benefit? Shall not such a cloud of examples stir us 
to some industry? Not to comply with so universal 
a practice, to cross all the world, to disagree with 
every creature, is it not very monstrous and extra- 

I should close all this discourse with that, at 
which, in pitching on this subject, I chiefly did 
aim, an application exhortatory to ourselves, urging 
the practice of this virtue by considerations peculiar 
to us as scholars, and derived from the nature of 
our calling. But the doing this requiring a larger 
discourse than the time now will allow, I shall re- 
serve to another occasion. 

13 Lastly, if we consider, we shall find the 
root and source of all the inconveniences, the mis- 
chiefs, the wants of which we are so apt to com- 
plain, to be our sloth; and that there is hardly 

d tu bono omnipotens, qui sic curas unumquemquo nostrum 
tanquam solum euros, ot sic omnos tanquam singulos. — Aug. Conf. 
[in. 11. Opp. Tom. I. col. 95 f.] 

Of Industry in general. 393 

any of them, which commonly we might not easily seem. 

prevent or remove by industry. Why is any man 

a beggar, why contemptible, why ignorant, why 
vicious, why miserable? Why, but for this one 
reason, because he is slothful; because he will not 
labour to rid himself of those evils ? What could 
we want, if we would but take the pains to seek it, 
either by our industry or by our devotion? For 
where the first will not do, the second cannot fail 
to procure any good thing from him, Who giveth to James i. 5. 
all men liberally, and hath promised to supply the 
defect of our ability by his free bounty ; so that if 
we join these two industries (industrious action 
and industrious prayer 6 ) there is nothing in the Rom - xii. 
world so good, or so great, of which, if we are Co'i. iv. 1. 
capable, we may not assuredly become masters : n . 
and even for industry itself, especially in the per- 
formance of all our duties toward God, let us 
industriously pray : even so, The God of peace Heb - xiii - 
sanctify us wholly, and make us perfect in every 
good work to do his will, working in us that which 
is wellpleasing in his sight; through our blessed 
Saviour Jesus Christ, to whom for ever be all 
glory and praise. Amen. 

e AeTjo-tr evepyov\xevr). — James v. 16. 
"Ev Tracrr] irpocrKapTepijaei. — Eph. vi. 18. 




Romans XII. n. 

Not slothful in business 3 ". 

s ™ TNDUSTRY is a very eminent virtue, being an 

L ingredient, or the parent, of all other virtues, of 

constant use upon all occasions, and having in- 
fluence upon all our affairs. 

For it, is our nature framed; all our powers 
of soul and body being fitted for it, tending to it, 
requiring it for their preservation and perfection. 

We were designed for it in our first happy state ; 
and upon our lapse thence were further doomed to 
it, as the sole remedy of our needs and the incon- 
veniences to which we became exposed. For 

Without it we cannot well sustain or secure our 
life in the enjoyment of any comfort or convenience; 
we must work to earn our food, our clothing, our 
shelter ; and to supply every indigency of accommo- 
dations, which our nature doth crave. 

To it God hath annexed the best and most 
desirable rewards ; success to our undertakings, 
wealth, honour, wisdom, virtue, salvation; all which, 
as they flow from God's bounty, and depend on his 
blessing; so from them they are usually conveyed 

a Tfj (nrovbjj fifj owripoL Solicitudine non pigri. — Vulg. 

Of Industry in our general Calling, &c. 395 

to us through our industry, as the ordinary channel serm. 
and instrument of attaining them. '- 

It is requisite to us, even for procuring ease, 
and preventing a necessity of immoderate labour. 

It is in itself sweet and satisfactory; as freeing 
our mind from distraction, and wrecking irresolu- 
tion; as feeding us with good hope, and yielding a 
foretaste of its good fruits. 

It furnisheth us with courage to attempt, and 
resolution to achieve things needful, worthy of us, 
and profitable to us. 

It is attended with a good conscience, and 
cheerful reflections, of having well spent our time, 
and employed our talents to good advantage. 

It sweeteneth our enjoyments, and seasoneth 
our attainments with a delightful relish. 

It is the guard of innocence, and barreth out 
temptations to vice, to wantonness, to vain curiosity, 
and pragmaticalness. 

It argueth an ingenuous and generous disposi- 
tion of soul ; aspiring to worthy things, and pursuing 
them in the fairest way; disdaining to enjoy the 
common benefits, or the fruits of other men's labour, 
without deserving them from the world, and requit- 
ing it for them. 

It is necessary for every condition and station, 
for every calling, for every relation ; no man without 
it being able to deport himself well in any state, to 
manage any business, to discharge any sort of duty. 

To it the world is indebted for all the culture, 
which advanceth it above rude and sordid bar- 
barism; for, whatever in common life is stately, 
or comely, or useful, industry hath contrived it, 
industry hath composed and framed it. 

396 Of Industry in our general 

seem. It is recommended to us by all sort of patterns 

— considerable ; for all nature is continually busy and 

active in tendency toward its proper designs ; heaven 
and earth do work in incessant motion ; every living 
creature is employed in progging for its sustenance ; 
the blessed spirits are always on the wing in de- 
spatching the commands of God, and ministering 
succour to us; God himself is ever watchful, and 
ever busy in preserving the world, and providing 
for the needs of every creature. 

The lives of our blessed Saviour, of all the 
patriarchs, the prophets, the apostles, the saints, 
in this respect have been more exemplary; no 
virtue being more conspicuous in their practice 
than industry in performing the hard duties and 
painful tasks imposed on them for the service of 
God, and the benefit of mankind. 

Such is the virtue upon which I have formerly 
discoursed in general and at large ; but shall now 
more specially consider, according to St Paul's 
prescription, in reference to its most proper matter, 
business, explaining and pressing it accordingly. 

Be not slothful in business, (that is, in discharge 
of it,) or to business, (that is, to undertake it :) this 
is the rule; the nature and needfulness whereof we 
shall declare. 

By airovhrj, business, we may understand any 
object of our care and endeavour which doth 
require them, and may deserve them; which by 
reason of its difficulty cannot well be accomplished 
or attained without them ; and which is productive 
of some fruit or recompense answerable to them; 
the which hath operce causam, a need of labour, 
and operce pretium, some effect worth our pains : if 

Calling, as Christians. 397 

it be not such, it is not a due matter of virtuous seem. 

• t XL vl. 

and laudable industry. 

There are many things, about which men with 
great earnestness employ themselves, called busi- 
ness, but not deserving that name : there are divers 
spurious kinds of industry, which may not pretend 
to commendation, but rather do merit blame; 
according to that of St Chrysostom, Labour which 
hath no profit cannot obtain any praise 

There is a KevocnrovSia, a vain industry, and a 
KaKocnrovSia, a naughty industry, both agreeing with 
genuine virtuous industry in the act, as implying 
careful and painful activity, but discording from 
it in object and design; and consequently in worth 
and moral esteem. 

Aliud agere, to be impertinently busy, doing 
that which conduceth to no good purpose, is in 
some respect worse than to do nothing, or to for- 
bear all action; for it is a positive abuse of our 
faculties, and trifling with God's gifts ; it is a 
throwing away labour and care, things valuable 
in themselves; it is often a running out of the 
way, which is worse than standing still; it is a 

Tlovos otbev KepBos %x a>v > kyKapiov navrbs djieo-repTjrai. — Ch 'ys. 
Orat. lxiv. Opp. Tom. v. [p. 451.] 

c *AXXo> yap ov8(v\ (pihoirovov rbv k€v6ctttov8ov d<popl£op.ev kv rots 
tpyois ovra TToWaKis, r) r<3 rbv fiev els dvaKpeXij irovelv itai abiacpopcos, 
rbv de evaca tov to>v (rvp.(p€p6vTcov kw. XucrireXcoi'. — Plut. de Com. 
Not. adv. Stoic. [Opp. Tom. x. p. 380. Ed. Reisk.J 

2irov$a£eiv kw. novelv naibias X^P lv > V^^ 10 " ^oiverai k<u \iav ttm- 
hiKov. — Arist. Eth. x. 6. [6. J 

'H eVi fiiKpois crnovbfi p.£p.tyiv (pcpet. — Plut. ibid. 

Vid. de Glor. Athen. Tom. i. p. 621. Ed. Steph. 

Oi (Tnov8a£ovT(s ev tois yeXoi'otj, iv rots <mov8aiois eaovrai Karaye- 
Xao-roi. — Cat. Maj. apud. Plut. in Apoph. [Opp. Tom. vi. p. 750. 
Ed. Reisk.J 

398 Of Industry in our general 

seem, debasing our reason, and declining from our man- 

_- 1. hood, nothing being more foolish or childish than 

to be solicitous and serious about trifles: for who 
are more busy and active than children 1 who are 
fuller of thoughts and designs, or more eager in 
prosecution of them, than they ? But all is about 
ridiculous toys, the shadows of business, suggested 
to them by apish curiosity and imitation. Of 
such industry we may understand that of the 
Eccies. x. Preacher, The labour of the foolish wearieth every 
15 ' one of them; for that a man soon will be weary 

of that labour, which yieldeth no profit, or bene- 
ficial return. 

But there is another industry worse than that, 
when men are very busy in devising and compass- 
Luke xxii. ing mischiefs ; an industry whereof the Devil 
fcor.ii. 1 1. affordeth a great instance; for the cursed fiend is 
very diligent, ever watching for occasions to sup- 
plant us, ever plotting methods and means to do 
harm, ever driving on his mischievous designs 
job i. 7. with unwearied activity ; Going to and fro in the 
1 Pet. v. 8. ear fj l . jR unn i n g about as a roaring lion, looking 
for prey, and seeking whom he may devour. 

And his wicked brood are commonly like him, 

Lukexiii. being Worker s of iniquity, epydrai tt/s dSuclas, Pain- 

Ps'ai. vi. %.ful men, o\ irovqpoi, Men that will do all things, o\ 

iravovpyoi ; who will spare no pains, nor leave 

any stone unturned, for satisfying their lusts, and 

accomplishing their bad designs. 

So indeed it is, that as no great good, so neither 
can any great mischief be effected without much 
pains ; and if we consider either the characters, 
or the practices of those, who have been famous 
mischief-doers, the pests of mankind and disturbers 

Calling, as Christians. 399 

of the world* 1 , we shall find them to have been no seem. 
sluggards. - 

These two sorts of vain and bad industry the 
prophet Isaiah seemeth to describe in those words ; 
They hatch cockatrice' eggs, and weave the spider's isa.Hx. 5. 
web; of which expressions one may denote mis- 
chievous, the other frivolous diligence in contrivance 
or execution of naughty or vain designs ; and to 
them both that of the prophet Hosea may be 
referred; They have sown the wind, and they shall Hos.viii.7. 
reap the whirlwind; guilt, remorse, and punish- xxx ; v .' 2 . 
ment being the consequences of both. And of g rov ' XX1L 
them both common experience doth afford very Hosx - i;! - 
frequent and obvious instances, a great part of 
human life being taken up with them. For 

How assiduously intent and eager may we ob- 
serve men to be at sports ! How soon will they 
rise to go forth to them ! With what constancy 
and patience will they toil in them all the day ! 
How indefatigable are they in riding and running 
about after a dog or a hawk, to catch a poor beast 
or silly bird ! 

How long will men sit poring on their games, 
dispensing with their food and sleep for it e ! 

How long and serious attention will men 
yield to a wanton play! How many hours 
will they contentedly sit thereat! What study 
will men employ on jests and impertinent wit! 
How earnest will they be to satisfy their vain 
curiosity ! 

d Catiline, Marius, Stilico, Csesar, &c. 

e Svveipowi [cil cpi\oKvl3oi) vvKTas rjpipais aairoi Kai airoTOi, kcll 
ybovijs ijdovrj irtpUa-ri — Lib. Orat. xxxi. [de Servit. Opp. Tom. n. 
p. 647 A.] 

400 Of Industry in our general 

serm. How in such cases do men forget what they are 
- doing, that sport should be sport f , not work ; to 

divert and relax us, not to employ and busy us ; 
to take off our minds a little, not wholly to take 
them up ; not to exhaust or tire our spirits, but to 
refresh and cheer them, that they may become 
more fit for grave and serious occupations ! 

jer. ii. 13. How painful will others be, In hewing them out 
cisterns, broken cisterns, that will hold no water; 
that is, in immoderate pursuit of worldly designs ! 
How studiously will they plod, how restlessly will 
they trudge, what carking and drudgery will they 
endure in driving on projects of ambition and ava- 
rice! What will not they gladly do or suffer to 
get a little preferment, or a little profit ! It was 
a common practice of old, and sure the world is 
not greatly mended since the Psalmist did thus 

Ps. xxxix. reflect, Surely every man walheth in a vain show ; 
surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up 
riches, and cannot tell who shall gather them. 

How many vigilant and stout pursuers are 
there of sensuality and riotous excess ; such as 

isai. v. 1 1. those of whom the Prophet speaketh, Woe unto 
them that rise up early in the morning, that they 
may follow strong drink ; that continue until night, 
till wine inflame them ! 

How busy (O shame ! O misery ! how fiercely 
busy) are some in accomplishing designs of malice 
and revenge! How intent are some to overreach, 
to circumvent, to supplant their neighbour ! How 
sore pains will some take to seduce, corrupt, or de- 
bauch others ! How active will some be in sowing 

f T<5 yap uvti 7ral(ovra Set nai&iv. — Plut. [SympOS. Lib. VII. 
qu. 7. Opp. Tom. vm. Ed. Reisk.] 

Calling, as Christians. 401 

strifes, in raising factions, in fomenting disorders serm. 
in the world ! How many industrious slaves hath L. 

the Devil 8 , who will spare no pains about any 
kind of work which he putteth them to ! How 
many like those of whom the Wise Man saith, 
Their feet run to evil, and are swift in running ^J oy - L l6; 
to mischief: They sleep not, except they have done iv. 16. 
mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they 
cause some to fall ! 

Now with all these labourers we may well ex- 
postulate in the words of the Prophet ; Wherefore isai. iv. 1. 
do ye spend money for that which is not bread, 
and your labour for that which satisfieth not f 

Such labours are unworthy of men, much less 
do they beseem Christians. 

It becometh us not as rational creatures to 
employ the excellent gifts of our nature, and noble 
faculties of our high-born soul, the forces of our 
mind, the advantages of our fortune, our precious 
time, our very care and labour, vainly or unprofit- 
ably upon anything base or mean : being that our 
reason is capable of achieving great and worthy 
things, we much debase it by stooping to regard 
toys, we do extremely abuse it by working mischief. 

Much more doth it misbecome us as Christians 
(that is, persons devoted to so high a calling, who 
have so worthy employments assigned to us, so glo- Ept. l 18. 
rious hopes, so rich encouragements proposed to us 
for our work) to spend our thoughts and endeav- 
ours on things impertinent to our great design, or 
mainly thwarting it. 

The proper matter and object of our industry 

8 '~&vvoT]<T(x>\ikv riva o 8ia/3oXos tnera^e, irws iirmova, tto>s stti- 
fio X 6a, &c— Chrys. 'Ai/Sp. iff [Opp. Tom. vi. p. 594.] 

B. S. VOL. III. 26 

402 Of Industry in our general 

seem, (those false ones being excluded) is true business; 

or that which is incumbent on a man to do, either 

in way of duty, being required by God, or by dic- 
tate of reason, as conducing to some good purpose ; 
so that in effect it will turn to account, and finally 
in advantageous return will pay him for his labour 
of mind or body ; that which the Wise Man did 
Eccies. ix. intend, when he advised, Whatever thy handfindeth 
to do, do it with all thy might; whatever thy hand 
findeth, that is, whatever by divine appointment, 
(by the command or providence of God,) or which, 
upon rational deliberation, doth occur as matter of 
our action; comprising every good purpose and 
reasonable undertaking incident to us. 

But our business, according to the holy Apo- 
stle's intent, may be supposed especially to be the 
work of our calling; to which each man hath a 
peculiar obligation; and which therefore is most 
properly his business, or r\ <nrov$rj, emphatically, the 
business allotted to him. 

Now this business, our calling, is double; our 
general calling, which is common to us all as Chris- 
tians, and our particular calling, which peculiarly 
belongeth to us, as placed in a certain station, either 
in the Church or State. In both which vocations, 
that we are much obliged and concerned to be in- 
dustrious, shall be now my business to declare. 

I. As to our general calling, (that sublime, that 
heavenly, that holy vocation 11 ,) in which by divine 
grace, according to the evangelical dispensation, 
we are engaged, that necessarily requireth and 
most highly deserveth from us a great measure of 

h 'H ava k\tj<tis. — Phil. iii. 14. KXrjais iirovpa.vt.os. — Heb. iii. 1. 
Ayia K\ijo-is. — 2 Tim. i. 9. Cf. Eph. i. 18. 2 Thess. i. 11. 

Calling, as Christians. 403 

industry; the nature and design of it requireth, the serm. 

fruit and result of it deserveth our utmost diligence ; !_ 

all sloth is inconsistent with discharging the duties, 
with enjoying the hopes, with obtaining the benefits 
thereof. For 

It is a state of continual work, and is expressed 
in terms importing abundant, incessant, intense 
care and pain; for to be indeed Christians, We phii.ii.12. 
must work out our salvation with fear and trem- 
bling; We must by patient continuance in vjell doing Rom. a. 7. 
seek for glory, and honour, and immortality ; We Coi. i. 10. 
must walk worthy of the Lord, to all wellpleasing, 
being fruitful in every good work; We must be 1 Tim - vi - 
rich in good works, and filed with the fruits o/'Phu. i. n. 
righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ to the 5 , 8, 16.' 
praise and glory of God; We are God's workman- ^ mea m ' 
ship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which E P h - n - I0 - 
God hath before ordained that we should walk in 

We have a soul to save, and are appointed, E« 1 Thess. v. 
Trepnroirjotv awTrjpias, To make an acquist of salvation. 

We have a mind to improve with virtue and 
wisdom, qualifying us for entrance into heaven, for 
enjoyment of God's favour, for conversation with 

As Christians we are assumed to be servants of 1 Thess - *■ 
God, and re-admitted into his family, from which, Eom.vii.6; 
for our disloyalty, we had been discarded ; so that, as EpiTii. 19. 
he was our natural Lord, so he is now such also by 
special grace; who did make us, who doth maintain 
us, under whose protection and at whose disposal 
we subsist ; whence we are obliged to be faithfully 
diligent in his service; we must constantly wait 
upon him in devotional addresses ; we must carefully 


404 Of Industry in our general 

serm. study to know his pleasure; we must endeavour 
exactly to perform his will, and obey his com- 

Rom.Iii!°' mands ; we must strive to advance his glory, to 
Luke xi. p romo ^ e hi s interest, to improve all talents and ad- 
Matt, xxv. vantages committed to us for those purposes ; we 
i Cor. xv. niust, as St Paul expresseth it, Always abound in 

the work of the Lord. 

Coi. iii. 24. We must also look upon ourselves as servants 

1 Cor V V n.' of Christ our Redeemer ; who by his blood hath 

m ii. m. purchased us to himself, that we might be zealous 

of good works ; performing a service to him, which 

consisteth in a faithful discharge of manifold duties, 

and in pursuance of all virtue; with most intent 

application of mind, with expedite promptitude, 

1 Pet. i. 5. with accurate circumspection; Giving all diligence, 

uirovoriv Traaav irapeiaeveyKavTes, as St Peter speak- 

Tit. iii. 1. eth, in adding one virtue to another; Being ready, 

Eph.v.15. as St Paul saith, to every good work; and, Seeing 

that we walk circumspectly, or behave ourselves 

exactly according to the rules of duty in all our 


Coi iv. 1. This service requireth of us assiduous attend- 

18. ance on works of piety and devotion; that, We do 

12. incessantly watch to 'prayer, that, We always give 

J 7 . ess-v ' thanks, that, We continually do offer up the sacrifice 

Lukexviii. f praise tQ £o(£ 

1 Thess. v. j£ demandeth from us a continual Labour of 
18. J 

Eph.v.20. charity ; that, We serve one another in love; that, 
Heb. xiii.' We should, as we have opportunity, work good to all 
1 Thess. i. men, that, We should always pursue good toward 
3 ' one another, and toward all men. 

Gal. v. 13; jt obligeth us, With all our powers, el Swarov, 
1 Thess. v. t pursue peace with all men, (which, considering 
our natural peevishness, pride, and perverseness, 

Calling, as Christians. 405 

is often no easy task.) and that, We do cirovSat'eiv. seem 

_ " ' O ' TT T7-T 

studiously endeavour to keep the unity of the spirit — 

in the bond of peace. f 8 0m ' xu- 

It chargeth on us contentedly and patiently to Heb - xiL 
undergo whatever God doth impose of burden or 2Tim.ii.22. 
sufferance, so that Patience have its perfect work; James i. 4. 
and it is a crabbed work to bend our stiff inclina- 
tions, to quell our refractory passions, to make our 
sturdy humour buckle thereto. 

It doth exact, that we should govern and regu- 
late, according to very strict and severe laws, all the 
faculties of our soul, all the members of our body, 
all internal motions, and all external actions pro- 
ceeding from us ; that we should check our incli- 
nations, curb our appetites, and compose our 
passions; that we should guard our hearts from 
vain thoughts and bad desires; that we should 
bridle our tongues from evil and from idle dis- 
courses; that we should order our steps in the 
straight way of righteousness, not deflecting to the 
right hand or to the left. 

In the discharge of this service, how many rough 
difficulties are there to be surmounted, how many 
great obstacles to be removed, how many stout 
oppositions to be encountered, how many potent 
enemies to be vanquished, how many sore hardships, 
crosses, and tribulations to be endured ! 

How shrewd a task must we find it to circum- 
cise our hearts, to mortify our earthly members, to 
crucify our flesh with its affections and lusts, to pull 
out our right eyes, and cut off our right hands, to 
renounce our worldly interests, to hate our nearest 
relations, to take up and bear our cross, whenever 
conscience and duty shall call us thereto ! 

406 Of Industry in our general 

serm. Our calling therefore doth require great in- 

dustry ; and the business of it consequently is well 

represented by those performances, which demand 
the greatest intention and laborious activity; it is 
styled exercise, (agonistic and ascetic exercise ; 

iTim.iv.7. YvikvaXe creavrov irpos evaefieiav, Exercise thyself to 

}$\ .. godliness; and, 'Ev tovtw £e auros d<r/cw, Herein I 

Heb. xii. ^ . 7 /> 7 7 • 

11. exercise myself to have always a conscience void of 

Heb! Til. 1. offence toward God and toward men;) wrestling, 
1^ or. ix. (^y{/xwv ri iraXtj, Our wrestling is not only against flesh 
fitai'ivy' an< ^ blood, but against principalities and powers;) 
1 Tim. i. 1 8, running a race, (Let us run with patience the race 
that is set before us: So run that ye may obtain : I 
press toward the mark for the prize of the high call- 
ing;) a warfare, a combating, (War a; good warfare, 
1 Tim. vi. holding faith and a good conscience: Fight the 


iiim. ii 2- good fight : Thou therefore endure hardship as a 
25. good soldier of Jesus Christ: Every man that 

I2 a ' X1 ' strivethfor the mastery is temperate in all things;) 
1 Thess. v. ff er j n g violence, (The kingdom of heaven suffereth 
1 Cor. xvi. violence, and the violent take it by force ;) watch- 
Matt, xxvi. ing, (Let us not sleep as do others, but let us watch 
xxiv. 42. and be sober: Watch ye, standfast in the faith, 
37! exu quit you like men, be strong: Watch and pray, 
Rev^'iil.' f- that ye enter not into temptation.) 
xvi. 15. Hence the precepts importing the general tenor 

of Christian practice are usually couched in terms 
implying great sedulity and contention of soul ; 
Lukexiii. ' AywviXevOe, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: 
Heb.iv.n. 27rov<Wto/Aei>, Let us labour therefore to enter into that 
johnvi.27. rest: ' EpydfyaOe, Labour not for the meat that perish- 
eth, but for that meat which endureth to everlasting 
iPet.i. 13'. life : STroySacraTe, Give diligence to make your calling 
3 5 u e xu * and election sure : Gird up the loins of your mind, be 

Calling, as Christians. 407 

sober, and hope to the end : Wherefore, brethren, see- sebm. 
ing that ye look for such things, be diligent, that ye may 

be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. % PetTm. 4- 

Such is the work of our general calling, and so I4# 
much industry it challengeth from us ; with great 
reason indeed, for that such work is needful to our 
happiness, and that our labour will certainly be 
rewarded therewith. 

The work, indeed, of itself is most worthy to 
employ us, doth most become us, doth much adorn 
us, doth best befit our divine extraction and large 
capacity; is the noblest, the handsomest, the 
sweetest employment that could take us up; but johniv.36. 
we have also the greatest inducements and encou- 
ragements possible for our industry therein. 

There are, by the divine bounty and mercy, 
wages assigned abundantly correspondent to our 
work, yea, infinitely surpassing it; there is IloXi5s 
luoQos, A great (or a manifold) hire for our slender Matt.v.12. 
and simple performances; there are several noble 
prizes highly worth our striving for with our utmost 
strength and contention of soul. 

In recompense thereof we shall assuredly gain 
even here in this transitory state the special favour 
and love of God, with his constant protection and 
care for our good ' ; his faithful direction and friendly Ps. xxxiv. 
assistance to guide us and uphold us in all our ways, Eoodv. n. 
to bless and prosper our undertakings, to supply ^Jjj.^' 
us in our needs, and comfort us in our distresses ; *J- . „ 

7 ' ira. xci. 10. 

so that we shall lack nothing that is good, that no Prov - xii - 
evil shall happen to us, that all things shall concur Kom. vm. 
and co-operate for our benefit. 3 ' 39 ' 

1 He that hi these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, 
and approved of men. — Rom. xiv. 18. 

408 Of Industry in our general 

seem. We shall thereby taste the satisfactions of a 

calm mind and a sound conscience, quickened by 

Col. iii. 15. the consolations of the divine Spirit; The peace of 
' God ruling in our hearts, which passeth all under- 

We shall afterward, when this moment is passed 
over, and our short day's work dispatched, receive 
from God's bountiful hand an unconceivable afflu- 
ence of good things, an eternal permanence of life ; 
jamesi.22. undisturbed rest, indefectible wealth, ineffable joy, 

T "Ppt V A. 

1 Oor. ix. incorruptible glory, a kingdom unshakeable. He, 

johniv.36. saith our Lord, that reapeth, receiveth wages, and 

Eom. ii. 6, gather eth fruit unto life everlasting. To them, saith 

St Paul, who, by patient continuance in well doing, 

seek for glory, and honour, and immortality, God 

1 Tim. iv. in recompense will bestow eternal life. And, / have, 

'' ' saith that blessed labourer of himself, fought the 

good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept 

the faith ; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown 

of righteousness. 

What more effectual spur or incentive can there 

be to industry in this business, than to consider 

E P h. vi. 8. that which St Paul so often doth inculcate ; Know- 

' ing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the 

same (a recompense for the same) he shall receive 

Col. iii. 24. of the Lord; and, Knowing that (in consideration 

of our service done to the Lord) of the Lord we 

shall receive the reward of the inheritance f 

What exhortation can be more firmly grounded, 
or strongly backed, than is that of the Apostle, 
1 Cor. xv. Therefore, my brethren, be ye steadfast, immoveable, 
always abounding in the work of the Lord, foras- 
much as ye know that your labour is not in vain in 
the Lord ? 

Calling, as Christians. 409 

May it not also much encourage us to industry, serm. 

to be assured, that not only the kind of our work, L 

but the degree of our labour shall be considered and 
requited, in just proportion ; so that the harder we 
work, the higher we shall be rewarded; for, To each Matt. xvi. 
one, saith our Lord, the Son of man shall render iCor.iii.8. 
a reward, /fa-ra t^v irpa^iv avTou, according to his I2 ! Y ' XXU ' 
performance. Every one, saith St Paul, shall receive, j^- xxv 
top 'iSiov juktOov Kara, tov 'lliov kottov, his proper re- "• 
ward according to his proper work; whence we 12- 
have reason to observe St John's advice, Look to 2 John 8. 
yourselves, that ye lose not those things which ye have 
gained, but that ye receive a full reward. 

To be negligent or slothful in such a case, for 
want of a little care and pains to forfeit such ad- 
vantages, what a pity, what a folly is it ! "Were an 
opportunity presented, by a little minding our busi- 
ness, and bestirring ourselves, to procure a fair 
estate, or a good preferment, would not he be 
deemed mad or sottish, who should sit still, and 
forego that his advantage ? How much more wild- 
ness is it to be drowsy and sluggish in this case, 
thereby losing eternal bliss and glory ! Well there- 
fore might the Apostle say, How shall we escape if~B-&>- «• 3- 
we neglect so great salvation ? How shall we escape 
not only the sin and guilt of basest ingratitude 
toward him that graciously doth offer it, but the 
imputation of most wretched folly, in being so mueh 
wanting to our own interest and welfare % 

Is it not a sad thing, a woful shame, to observe 
what pains men will throw away upon things of 
small or no concernment to them ? yea, what toil 
and drudgery they will sustain in the service of 
Satan, in pursuit of sin, in the gratification of their 
vanities and lusts ? 

410 Of Industry in our general 

serm. What pains will a covetous wretch take in 

scraping for pelf ! How will he rack his mind 

with carking solicitude to get, to keep, to spare it ! 
How will he tire his spirits with restless travail! 
How will he pinch his carcass for want of what 
nature craveth ! What infamy and obloquy will 
he endure for his niggardly parsimony and sordid- 
ness ! 

How much labour will an ambitious fop undergo 
for preferment or vain honour! To how many 
tedious attendances, to how pitiful servilities will 
he submit! What sore crosses and disappoint- 
ments will he swallow! What affronts and indig- 
nities will he patiently digest, without desisting 
from his enterprise! 
, Cor ix How will a man, as St Paul observed, navm 

2g - eyKpareveaOai, endure all painful abstinence and 

continence, in order to the obtaining a corruptible 
crown, a fading garland of bays, a puff of vain 
applause ! 

What diligence will men use to compass the 
enjoyment of forbidden pleasures! how watchful 
in catching opportunities, how eager in quest of 
them will they be ! What difficulties will they un- 
dertake, what hazards will they incur, what damages 
and inconvenience will they sustain, rather than 
fail of satisfying their desires ! 
- What achings of head and heart; what pangs 
of mind, and gripes of conscience; what anxieties 
of regret and fear, will every worker of iniquity 
undergo ! So faithful friends hath this vain and 
evil world ; so diligent servants hath the accursed 
lord thereof; so careful and laborious will men be 
to destroy and damn themselves. O that we could 
be willing to spend as much care and pains in the 

Calling, as Christians. 411 

service of our God k ! O that we* were as true seem. 
friends of ourselves ! O that we could be as in- - 

dustrious for our salvation ! that is, in the business 
of our general calling: which having considered, 
let us proceed to the other business belonging to 
us, which is, 

II. The business of our particular calling ; that 
in reference whereto St Paul doth prescribe, Every i Cor. vn. 
man as the Lord hath called him, so let him walk: 
Let every man abide in the same calling wherein 
he was called; let him so abide, so faithfully to 
prosecute the work, and discharge the duty of it; 
the doing which otherwise he termeth Ylpdcraeiv rd 
'i$ia, To do our own business, (working with our I Thess.iv. 
hands,) and enjoineth it in opposition to those two Eph.iv.28. 
great pests of life, sloth and pragmatical curiosity; 
or the neglect of our own, and meddling with other 
men's affairs. 

This the Apostle nameth our calling, because we 
are called or appointed thereto by divine Provi- 
dence; for he supposeth and taketh it for granted, 
that to each man in this world God hath assigned 
a certain station, unto which peculiar action is 
suited; in which station he biddeth him quietly 
to abide, till Providence fairly doth translate him, J c «> r - vii - 
and during his abode therein diligently to execute 
the work thereof. 

Every man is a member of a double body; of the 
civil commonwealth, and of the Christian church : 
in relation to the latter whereof St Paul telleth us, 
(and what he saith by parity of reason may be re- 
ferred likewise to the former,) that, God hath set 1 Cor. xn. 
the members every one in the body, as it pleaseth 

k Vid. Chrys. 'Avbp. iff- Opp. Tom. vr. [p. 594.] 

412 Of Industry in our general 

serm. him; and as it is in the natural, so it is in every 


political and spiritual body, every member hath its 
Rom. xii. proper use and function; All members, saith St 
4 ' Paul, have not ttjv avTrjv -n-pafyv, the same office, or 

the same work and operation ; yet every one hath 
some work. There is no member designed to be 
idle or useless, conferring no benefit to the whole; 
Eph.iv.i6. but, The whole body, saith the Apostle, Jitly joined 
together and compacted by that which every joint 
supplieth, according to the effectual working in the 
measure of every part, maketh increase of the body 
unto the edifying itself in love; each member doth 
conspire and co-operate to the strength, nourish- 
ment, thriving, and welfare of the whole. 

Every man (who continueth a man in his senses, 
or in any good degree of natural integrity) is by 
God endowed with competent abilities to discharge 
some function useful to common good, or at least 
needful to his own sustenance 1 ; to every one some 
talent is committed, which in subordination to 
God's service he may improve, to the benefit of 
the world, God's temporal, or of the church, God's 
spiritual kingdom. 

It is plainly necessary, that the greatest part of 
men should have a determinate work allotted to 
them, that they may support their life and get their 
food, without being injurious, offensive, or burden- 
some to others ; for their living they must either 
follow some trade, or they must shark and filch, or 
they must beg, or they must starve. 

And the rest are obliged to do somewhat con- 
ducible to public good, that they may deserve to 
live ; for a drone should not be among the bees, nor 

'EKaoro) ms efiepiaev 6 Btos. — 1 Cor. vii. 17. 

Calling, as Christians. 413 

hath right to devour the honey. If any man doth seem. 

pretend, or presume, that he hath nothing to do 

but to eat, to sleep, to play, to laugh, to enjoy his 

ease, his pleasure, his humour, he thereby doth as 

it were disclaim a reasonable title of living among 

men, and sharing in the fruits of their industry; he, 

in St Paul's judgment, should be debarred of food, 

for, This, saith the holy Apostle, we commanded 2 Thess - [ii - 

you, that if any man would not work, neither should 

he eat. 

Such an one in the body of men, what is he but 
an unnatural excrescence, sucking nutriment from 
it, without yielding ornament or use? What is he 
but a wen deforming and encumbering the body, or 
a canker infesting and corrupting it? 

As no man (at least with decency, convenience, 
and comfort) can live in the world, without being 
obliged to divers other men for their help in pro- 
viding accommodations for him; so justice and 
ingenuity, corroborated by divine sanctions, do 
require of him, that in commutation he, one way 
or other, should undertake some pains redounding 
to the benefit of others. 

So hath the great author of order distributed 
the ranks and offices of men in order to mutual 
benefit and comfort, that one man should plough, 
another thresh, another grind, another labour at 
the forge, another knit or weave, another sail, 
another trade, another supervise all these, labouring 
to keep them all in order and peace; that one 
should work with his hands and feet, another with 
his head and tongue ; all conspiring to one common 
end, the welfare of the whole, and the supply of 
what is useful to each particular member; every 

414 Of Industry in our general 

serm. man so reciprocally obliging and being obliged; the 

1- prince being obliged to the husbandman for his 

bread, to the weaver for his clothes, to the mason 
for his palace, to the smith for his sword ; those 
being all obliged to him for his vigilant care 
in protecting them, for their security in pursuing 
the work, and enjoying the fruit of their industry. 
So every man hath a calling and proper busi- 
ness; whereto that industry is required, I need 
not much to prove, the thing itself in reason 
and experience being so clearly evident : for what 
business can be well dispatched, what success can 
be expected to any undertaking, in what calling 
can any man thrive, without industry? What 
business is there that will go on of itself, or proceed 
to any good issue, if we do not carefully look to it, 
steadily hold it in its course, constantly push and 
drive it forward? It is true, as in nature, so in all 
affairs, Nihil movet non motum, Nothing moveth 
without being moved. 

Our own interest should move us to be indus- 
trious in our calling, that we may obtain the good 
effects of being so in a comfortable and creditable 
subsistence; that we may not suffer the damages 
and wants, the disappointments and disgraces 
ensuing on sloth: but the chief motive should be 
from piety and conscience; for that it is a duty 
which we owe to God. For God having placed us 
in our station, he having apportioned to us our 
i Cor. iv. 2. task, we being in transaction of our business his 
servants, we do owe to him that necessary property 
of good servants, without which fidelity cannot 
subsist; for how can he be looked on as a faithful 
servant, who doth not effectually perform the work 

Calling, as Christians. 415 

charged on him, or diligently execute the orders of serm. 
his master? xlvi. 

St Paul doth enjoin servants, that they should coi. m. 22. 
in all things obey their masters, with conscientious f ct-.^i 5 ' 
regard to God, as therein performing service to 22 > 23- 
God, and expecting recompense from him : and of 
princes he saith, that they, in dispensation of 
justice, enacting laws, imposing taxes, and all 
political administrations, are The ministers of God, Eom. xiii. 
TrpoaKaprepovifTes, attending constantly upon this 6 ' 
very thing: and if these extremes, the highest and 
lowest of all vocations, are services of God ; if the 
highest upon that score be tied to so much diligence, 
then surely all middle places, upon the same account 
of conscience toward God, do exact no less. 

If he that hath one talent, and he that hath ten, 
must both improve them for God's interest; then 
he that hath two, or three, or more, is obliged to 
the same duty proportionably 

Every one should consider the world as the fa- 
mily of that great Paterfamilias, Of whom the whole Eph. m. 
family in heaven and earth is named, and himself 
as an officer or servant therein, by God's will and 
designation constituted in that employment, into 
which Providence hath cast him ; to confer, in his 
order and way, somewhat toward a provision for 
the maintenance of himself and of his fellow-ser- 
vants. Of a superior officer our Lord saith, Who Matt.xxiv. 
is that faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath L 5 uke xii 
made ruler over his household, to give them their *"■ 
meat in due season? So the greatest men are as 
stewards, treasurers, comptrollers, or purveyors; 
the rest are inferior servants, in their proper rank 
and capacity. 

416 Of Industry in our general 

serm. And he that with diligence performeth his re- 


— spective duty (be it high and honourable, or mean 


and contemptible in outward appearance) will 
Cor. xiv. please God, as keeping good order, and as being 
useful to his service ; so that, upon the reckoning, 
Matt. xxv. God will say to him, Well done, good and faithful 
servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things; 
I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou 
into the joy of thy Lord. But he that doeth other- 
wise (behaving himself carelessly or sluggishly in 
his business) will offend God, as committing dis- 
order, and as being unprofitable. 

He committeth disorder, according to that of 

sThess.iii. gt Paul: We hear there are some, which walk 
n. . ' 

among you disorderly, not working at all. His 

sentence and doom will be, according to our Lord, 

Matt. xxv. o thou wicked and slothful servant — Cast the un- 

2 30. _ •' 

profitable servant into utter darkness; which words 
are spoken in relation to one who being a slatterer, 
or sluggard in his calling, did not improve the 
special talent intrusted with him for God's service. 

In fine, if we are conscientiously industrious in 
our vocation, we shall assuredly find the blessing 
of God thereon; and that he thereby will convey 
good success, comfort, competent wealth, a fair 
reputation, all desirable good unto us; for as all 
these things are promised to industry, so the 
promise especially doth belong to that industry, 
which a man doth exercise in an orderly course of 
action in his own way; or rather in God's way, 
wherein divine Providence hath set him. 

An irregular or impertinent laboriousness, out 
of a man's calling or sphere ; a being diligent in 
other men's affairs, invading their office, (as if I a 

Calling, as Christians. 417 

priest will be trading, a layman preaching,) may seem. 
not claim the benefit of those promises, or the - LVL 
blessings of industry: but a husbandman, who, 
with conscientious regard to God, and confidence Prov. x . 4 ; 
in him, is painful in tilling his ground, may expect 
a good crop; a merchant, who (upon the same 
principle, with the like disposition) earnestly 
folio we th his trade, may hope for safe voyages and 
good markets; a prince, carefully minding his 
affairs, may look for peace and prosperity to his 
country; a scholar studying hard may be well 
assured of getting knowledge, and finding truth; 
all, who with honest diligence constantly do pur- 
sue their business, may confidently and cheerfully 
hope to reap the advantages suitable to it from 
the favourable blessing of God. So that we have 
all reason to observe the Apostle's precept, Not to 
be 'slothful in business. 

I should apply this doctrine to our own case, 
urging its practice by considerations peculiar to our* 
vocation: but having already passed the bounds 
of time, I reserve the doing it to another oppor- 

Now the God of peace sanctify you wholly, and i Thess. v. 
make you perfect in every good ivorh to do his will, Heb. xiii. 
working in you that which is well-pleasing in his 
sight, through our blessed Saviour Jesus Christ ; to 
whom for ever be all glory and praise. Amen. 

20, 21. 

b. s. vol. 11 r. '-' 



Rom. XII. ii. 
Not slothful in business. 


I HAVE largely treated upon the duty recom- 
mended in this precept, and urged the observance 
of it in general, at a distance : I now intend more 
particularly and closely to apply it, in reference to 
those persons who seem more especially obliged to 
it, and whose observing it may prove of greatest 
consequence to public good ; the which application 
may also be most suitable and profitable to this 
audience. Those persons are of two sorts ; the one 
gentlemen, the other scholars. 

I. The first place, as civility demandeth, we 
assign to gentlemen, or persons of eminent rank in 
the world, well allied, graced with honour, and 
furnished with wealth : the which sort of persons 
I conceive in a high degree obliged to exercise 
industry in business. 

This at first hearing may seem a little para- 
doxical and strange; for who have less business 
than gentlemen? who do need less industry than 
they? He that hath a fair estate, and can live on 
his means, what hath he to do, what labour or 

Of Industry in our particular Calling, &c. 410 

trouble can be exacted of him, what hath he to seem. 
think on, or trouble his head with, but how to 1 

invent recreations and pastimes to divert himself, 
and spend his waste leisure pleasantly? Why 
should not he be allowed to enjoy himself, and the 
benefits which nature or fortune have freely dis- 
pensed to him, as he thinketh best, without offence? 
Why may he not say with the rich man in the 
Gospel, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for Luke x ;i. 
many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be 
merry ? Is it not often said by the Wise Man, 
that, There is nothing better under the sun, than that Eccies. n. 
a man shoidd make his soul to enjoy good in a^is^'vm' 
cheerful and comfortable fruition of his estate? 15. 
According to the passable notion and definition, 
What is a gentleman but his pleasure ? 

If this be true, if a gentleman be nothing else 
but this, then truly he is a sad piece, the most 
inconsiderable, the most despicable, the most pitiful 
and wretched creature in the world : if it is his 
privilege to do nothing, it is his privilege to be 
most unhappy ; and to be so will be his fate, if he 
live according to it; for he that is of no worth or 
use, who produceth no beneficial fruit, who per- 
formeth no service to God or to the world, what 
title can he have to happiness ? What capacity 
thereof? What reward can he claim? What 
comfort can he feel? To what temptations is he 
exposed ! What guilts will he incur ! 

But in truth it is far otherwise: to suppose 
that a gentleman is loose from business is a great 
mistake ; for, indeed, no man hath more to do, no 
man lieth under greater engagements to industry 

than he. 


420 Of Industry in our particular 

seem. He is deeply obliged to be continually busy in 
more ways than other men, who have but one 

simple calling or occupation allotted to them ; and 
that upon a triple account; in respect to God, to 
the world, and to himself. 

i He is first obliged to continual employment 
in respect to God. 

He, out of a grateful regard to divine bounty 
for the eminency of his station, adorned with 
dignity and repute, for the plentiful accommoda- 
tions and comforts of his life, for his exemption 
from those pinching wants, those meaner cares, 
those sordid entertainments, and those toilsome 
drudgeries to which other men are subject, is 
bound to be more diligent in God's service, em- 
ploying all the advantages of his state to the 
glory of his munificent Benefactor, to whose good 
i Cor. iv. 7. providence alone he doth owe them; for who 
maketh him to differ from another? And what 
hath he that he did not receive from God's free 

In proportion to the bulk of his fortune, his 
heart should be enlarged with a thankful sense of 
God's goodness to him ; his mouth should ever be 
filled with acknowledgment and praise; he should 
always be ready to express his grateful resentment 
of so great and peculiar obligations. 

He should dedicate larger portions of that 
free leisure which God hath granted to him, in 
waiting upon God, and constant performances of 

He, in frequently reflecting on the particular 
ample favours of God to him, should imitate the 
holy Psalmist, that illustrious pattern of great and 

Calling, as Gentlemen and Scholars. 421 

fortunate men; saying after him, with his spirit seem. 
and disposition of soul; Thou hast brought me to 

great honour, and comforted me on every side; ^' Lsxi " 
therefore will I praise thee and thy faithfulness, 
God. Lord, by thy favour thou hast made my Ps. xxx. 7 ; 
mountain to stand strong: Thou hast set my feet in xxul. 5; 
a large room: Thou preparest a table before me; — 
Thou anointest my head with oil, my cup runneth 
over; — to the end that my glory may sing praise xxx. 12; 
unto thee, and not be silent: The Lord is the por-* Y1 ' s ' ' 7 ' 
tion of mine inheritance, and of my cup; thou main- 
tainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in 
pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage; 
therefore I will bless the Lord. 

In conceiving such meditations, his head and his 
heart should constantly be employed; as also in 
contriving ways of declaring and discharging real 
gratitude; asking himself, What shall 1 render cxvi. 12. 
unto the Lord for all his benefits ? What shall I 
render to him, not only as a man, for all the gifts 
of nature; as a Christian, for all the blessings 
of grace; but as a gentleman also, for the many 
advantages of this my condition, beyond so many 
of my brethren, by special providence indulged 
to me? 

He hath all the common duties of piety, of 
charity, of sobriety, to discharge with fidelity; for 
being a gentleman doth not exempt him from being 
a Christian, but rather more strictly doth engage 
him to be such in a higher degree than others; it 
is an obligation peculiarly incumbent on him, in 
return for God's peculiar favours, to pay God all 
due obedience, and to exercise himself in all good 
works ; disobedience being a more heinous crime in 

422 Of Industry in our particular 

seem, him than in others, who have not such encourage- 

1 ments to serve God. 

His obedience may be inculcated by those argu- 
ments which Joshua and Samuel did use in pressing 
i Sam. xii. it on the Israelites ; Only, said Samuel, fear the 
24 ' Lord, and serve him in truth; for consider how 

josh. xxiv. great things God hath done for you; and, I have 
I3 ' l4 ' given you, saith God by Joshua, a land for which 
ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not; 
and ye dwell in them: of the vineyards and olive- 
yards which ye planted not, do ye eat. Now there- 
fore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and 
in truth. 

His disobedience may be aggravated, as Nehe- 
Neh. ix. miah did that of the Israelites : They took strong 
isai.ixiii. cities and a fat land, and possessed houses full of 
Ps'. cvi. 6. all goods, wells digged, vineyards and oliveyards, 
Ezek'xvi. an< ^ fruit-trees in abundance; so they did eat and 
i Sam xv were Jilted, and became fat; and delighted them- 
J 7- selves in thy great goodness: nevertheless they were 

i Sam. xii. 

7. disobedient, and rebelled against thee, and cast thy 

Neh.ix.35. law behind their backs. — They have not served thee 

in their kingdom, and in thy great goodness, which 

thou gavest them; neither turned they from their 

wicked works. 

A gentleman hath more talents committed to 
him, and consequently more employment required 
of him : if a rustic labourer, or a mechanic artisan, 
hath one talent, a gentleman hath ten; he hatli 
innate vigour of spirit, and height of courage forti- 
fied by use; he hath accomplishment and refine- 
ment of parts by liberal education; he hath the 
succours of parentage, alliance, and friendship ; 
he hath wealth, he hath honour, he hath power and 

Calling, as Gentlemen and Scholars. 423 

authority, he hath command of time and leisure; seem. 

he hath so many precious and useful talents - 

intrusted to him, not to be wrapped up in a napkin, 2( £ ke X1X ' 
or hidden under ground; not be squandered away ^ att xxv- 
in private satisfactions; but for negotiation, to beLukexix. 
put out to use, to be improved in the most advan- M att . XX v. 
tageous way to God's service. Every talent doth l6 ' 27; 
require a particular carj and pains to manage it 


He particularly is God's steward, intrusted with xxv. i 4 . 
God's substance for the sustenance and supply of 
God's family; to relieve his fellow-servants in their 
need, upon seasonable occasions, by hospitality, 
mercy, and charitable beneficence; according to 
that intimation of our Lord, Who is that faithful Luke xii « 
and wise steward, whom his Lord shall make ruler 
of his household, to give them their 'portion and 
meat in due season? and according to those apo- 
stolical precepts, As every one hath received a gift, j o Pet - 1V - 
Xapiana (or special favour,) even so minister the j Ti ™- ^ 
same to one another, as good stewards of the manifold 
grace of God: and, Charge the rich in this world, — 
that they do good, that they be rich in good works, 
ready to distribute, willing to communicate. 

And he that is obliged to purvey for so many, 
and so to abound in good works, how can he want 
business ? How can he pretend to a writ of ease ? 

Surely that gentleman is very blind, and very 
barren of invention, who is to seek for work fit for 
him, or cannot easily discern many employments 
belonging to him, of great concern and conse- 

It is easy to prompt and shew him many 
businesses, indispensably belonging to him, as such. 

424 Of Industry in oar particular 

seem. It is his business to minister relief to his poor 
XLVIL neighbours, in their wants and distresses, by his 
wealth. It is his business to direct and advise the 
ignorant, to comfort the afflicted, to reclaim the 
wicked, and encourage the good, by his wisdom. It 
is his business to protect the weak, to rescue the 
oppressed, to ease those who groan under heavy 
burdens, by his power; to be such a gentleman 
jobxxxi. and so employed as Job was; Who did not eat 
l7 ' l6; his morsel alone, so that the fatherless did not eat 
thereof; Who did not withhold the poor from their 
xxxi. 19; desire, or cause the eyes of the ividow to fail; Who 
XX1X ' l2 ' did not see any perish for want of clothing, or any 
poor without covering; Who delivered the poor that 
cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to 
help him. 
iPet.iv.9. It is his business to be hospitable; kind and 
Heb. xm. k e ipf u i to strangers; following those noble gentle- 
Bom, xii. men ^ Abraham and Lot, who were so ready to invite 
Gen. xviii. an( j entertain strangers with bountiful courtesy. 

It is his business to maintain peace, and ap- 
pease dissensions among his neighbours, interpos- 
ing his counsel and authority in order thereto: 
Exod ii. whereto he hath that brave gentleman, Moses, re- 
W •• « commended for his pattern. 

Actsvii.20. x 

It is his business to promote the welfare and 

prosperity of his country with his best endeavours, 

Judg. v. 9. and by all his interest ; in which practice the Sacred 

History doth propound divers gallant gentlemen 

(Joseph, Moses, Samuel, Nehemiah, Daniel, Mor- 

decai, and all such renowned patriots) to guide him. 

josh. xxiv. It is his business to govern his family well ; to 

p s " ci educate his children in piety and virtue; to keep 

his servants in good order. 

Calling, as Gentlemen and Scholars. 425 

It is his business to look to his estate, and to serm. 
keep it from wasting; that he may sustain the XLYIL 
repute of his person and quality with decency; 
that he may be furnished with ability to do good, 
may provide well for his family, may be hospitable, 
may have wherewith to help his brethren ; for if, 
according to St Paul's injunction, A man should 
work with his own hands, that he may have some- 
what to impart, fxera^ovm, to him that needeth, then 
must he that hath an estate be careful to preserve 
it for the same good purpose. 

It is his business to cultivate his mind with 
knowledge, with generous dispositions, with all 
worthy accomplishments befitting his condition, 
and qualifying him for honourable action; so that 
he may excel, and bear himself above the vulgar 
level, no less in real inward worth, than in exterior 
garb ; that he be not a gentleman merely in name 
or show. 

It is his business (and that no slight or easy 
business") to eschew the vices, to check the passions, 
to withstand the temptations, to which his condition 
is liable ; taking heed that his wealth, honour, and 
power do not betray him unto pride, insolence, or 
contempt of his poorer brethren ; unto injustice or 
oppression; unto luxury and riotous excess; unto 
sloth, stupidity, forgetfulness of God, and irreligious 

It is a business especially incumbent on him to 
be careful of his ways, that they may have good 
influence on others, who are apt to look upon him 
as their guide and pattern. 

A Ardua res hsec est, opibus non tradere mores. — 

[Mart. xi. 5, 3.] 

426 Of Industry in our particular 

sejrm. He should labour and study to be a leader unto 
virtue, and a notable promoter thereof; directing 

and exciting men thereto by his exemplary conver- 
sation; encouraging them by his countenance and 
authority; rewarding the goodness of meaner people 
by his bounty and favour : he should be such a 
; Pet. ii. 5. gentleman as Noah, who preached righteousness 
by his words and works before a profane world. 

Such particular affairs hath every person of 
quality, credit, wealth, and interest, allotted to him 
by God, and laid on him as duties; the which to 
discharge faithfully, will enough employ a man, 
and doth require industry, much care, much pains ; 
excluding sloth and negligence: so that it is im- 
possible for a sluggard to be a worthy gentleman, 
virtuously disposed, a charitable neighbour, a good 
patriot, a good husband of his estate; any thing 
of that, to which God, by setting him in such a 
station, doth call him. 

Thus is a gentleman obliged to industry in 
respect of God, who justly doth exact those labours 
of piety, charity, and all virtue from him. Further, 

2 He hath also obligations to mankind, de- 
manding industry from him, upon accounts of 
common humanity, equity, and ingenuity; for 

How can he fairly subsist upon the common 
industry of mankind, without bearing a share 
thereof? How can he well satisfy himself to dwell 
statelily, to feed daintily, to be finely clad, to 
maintain a pompous retinue, merely upon the sweat 
and toil of others, without himself rendering a 
compensation, or making some competent returns 
of care and pain, redounding to the good of his 

Calling, as Gentlemen and Scholars. 427 

How can he justly claim, or reasonably expect seem. 

from the world the respect agreeable to his rank, if 1 

he doth not by worthy performances conduce to 
the benefit of it? Can men be obliged to regard 
those, from whom they receive no good? 

If no gentleman be tied to serve the public, or 
to yield help in sustaining the common burdens, 
and supplying the needs of mankind, then is the 
whole order merely a burden, and an offence to 
the world ; a race of drones, a pack of ciphers in 
the commonwealth, standing for nothing, deserving 
no consideration or regard : and if any are bound, 
then all are ; for why should the whole burden lie 
on some, while others are exempted? 

It is indeed supposed, that all are bound thereto, 
seeing that all have recompenses publicly allowed 
to them upon such considerations; divers respects 
and privileges peculiar to the order, grounded upon 
this supposition, that they deserve such advantages 
by conferring notable benefit to the public; the 
which indeed it were an arrogance to seek, and an 
iniquity to accept for doing nothing. 

It is an insufferable pride for any man to pre- 
tend or conceit himself to differ so much from his 
brethren, that he may be allowed to live in ease 
and sloth, while the rest of mankind are subject to 
continual toil and trouble. Moreover, 

3 A gentleman is bound to be industrious for 
his own sake ; it is a duty which he oweth to him- 
self, to his honour, to his interest, to his welfare. 
He cannot without industry continue like himself, 
or maintain the honour and repute becoming his 
quality and state, or secure himself from contempt 
and disgrace; for to be honourable and slothful are 

428 Of Industry in our particular 

serm. things inconsistent, seeing honour doth not grow, 

1 nor can subsist, without undertaking worthy designs, 

constantly pursuing them, and happily achieving 
them; it is the fruit and reward of such actions, 
which are not performed with ease. 

External respect and a semblance of honour, for 
the sake of public order, may be due to an exterior 
rank or title : but to pay this, is not to honour the 
person, but his title; because it is supposed, that 
men of real worth and use do bear it ; or lest, by 
refusing it to one, the whole order may seem disre- 
spected : but yet true honour, or mental esteem, is 
not due upon such accounts; nor is it possible to 
render it unto any person, who doth not by worthy 
qualities and good deeds appear to merit it. 

Nor can a gentleman without industry uphold 
his real interests against the attempts of envy, of 
treachery, of flattery, of sycophantry, of avarice, to 
which his condition is obnoxious: to preserve his 
wealth and estate, which are the supports of his 
quality, he must endure care and pains; otherwise 
he will by greedy harpies and crafty lurchers be 
rifled or cozened of his substance; it will of itself 
go to wreck, and be embezzled by negligence. 

He cannot without industry guard his personal 
welfare from manifold inconveniences, molestations, 
and mischiefs ; idleness itself will be. very trouble- 
some and irksome to him. His time will he upon 
his hands, as a pestering incumbrance. His mind 
will be infested with various distractions and dis- 
tempers; vain and sad thoughts, foul lusts, and 
unquiet passions will spring up therein, as weeds 
in a neglected soil. His body will languish and 
become destitute of health, of vigour, of activity, 

Calling, as Gentlemen and Scholars. 429 

for want of due exercise. All the mischiefs, which serm. 

naturally do spring from sloth and stupidity will 1 

seize upon him. 

4 Thus, upon various accounts, a gentleman 
is engaged to business, and concerned to exercise 
industry therein: we may add, that indeed the 
very nature of gentility, or the true notion of a 
gentleman, doth imply so much. 

For what, I pray, is a gentleman, what proper- 
ties hath he, what qualities are characteristical or 
peculiar to him, whereby he is distinguished from 
others, and raised above the vulgar? Are they not 
especially two, courage and courtesy? which he that 
wanteth is not otherwise than equivocally a gentle- 
man, as an image or a carcass is a man; without 
which, gentility in a conspicuous degree is no more 
than a vain show or an empty name: and these 
plainly do involve industry, do exclude slothful- 
ness; for courage doth prompt boldly to undertake, 
and resolutely to despatch great enterprises and 
employments of difficulty : it is not seen in a flaunt- 
ing garb, or strutting deportment; not in hectorly, 
ruffian-like swaggering or huffing; not in high 
looks or big words ; but in stout and gallant deeds, 
employing vigour of mind and heart to achieve 
them: how can a man otherwise approve himself 
for courageous, than by signalizing himself in such 
a way? 

And for courtesy, how otherwise can it be well 
displayed than in sedulous activity for the good of 
men? It surely doth not consist in modish forms 
of address, or complimental expressions, or hollow 
professions, commonly void of meaning, or of sin- 
cerity; but in real performances of beneficence, 

430 Of Industry in our particular 

SERM. when occasion doth invite, and in waiting for op- 
— — -portunities to do good; the which practice is 
accompanied with some care and pain, adding a 
price to it; for an easy courtesy is therefore small, 
because easy, and may be deemed to proceed rather 
from ordinary humanity, than from gentle disposi- 
tion ; so that, in fine, he alone doth appear truly a 
gentleman, who hath the heart to undergo hard 
tasks for public good, and willingly taketh pains to 
oblige his neighbours and friends. 

5 The work indeed of gentlemen is not so 
gross, but it may be as smart and painful as any 
other. For all hard work is not manual; there are 
other instruments of action beside the plough, the 
spade, the hammer, the shuttle: nor doth every 
work produce sweat, and visible tiring of body: 
the head may work hard in contrivance of good 
designs ; the tongue may be very active in dispens- 
ing advice, persuasion, comfort, and edification in 
virtue ; a man may bestir himself in going about to 
do good: these are works employing the cleanly 
industry of a gentleman. 

6 In such works it was, that the truest and 
Acts x. 38. greatest pattern of gentility that ever was, did em- 
ploy himself. Who was that? Even our Lord 
himself; for he had no particular trade or profes- 
sion : no man can be more loose from any engage- 
ment to the world than he was ; no man had less 
need of business or pains-taking than he; for 

H. ; b. i. 2. he had a vast estate, being Heir of all things, 
all the world being at his disposal; yea, infinitely 
more, it being in his power with a word to create 
whatever he would to serve his need or satisfy his 
pleasure; omnipotency being his treasure and 

Calling, as Gentlemen and Scholars. 431 

supply ; he had a retinue of angels to wait on him, and seem. 
minister to him ; whatever sufficiency any man can XLVIL 
fancy to himself to dispense with his taking pains, Isailiil1 - 
that had he in a far higher degree : yet did he 
find work for himself, and continually was employed 
in performing service to God, and imparting benefits 
to men ; nor was ever industry exercised upon earth 
comparable to his. 

Gentlemen therefore would do well to make him 
the pattern of their life, to whose industry they 
must be beholden for their salvation: in order 
whereto we recommend them to his grace. And 
proceed to the other sort of persons, whom we did 
propound, namely 

II. Scholars; and that on them particularly 
great engagements do lie to be industrious, is most 
evident from various considerations. 

The nature and design of this calling doth 
suppose industry ; the matter and extent of it doth 
require industry ; the worth of it doth highly de- 
serve industry. We are in special gratitude to 
God, in charity to men, in due regard to ourselves, 
bound unto it. 

i First, I say, the nature and design of our 
calling doth suppose industry : There is, saith the Eccies. a. 
divine Preacher, a man whose labour is in wisdom, 
in knowledge, and in equity. Such men are scholars ; 
so that we are indeed no scholars, but absurd 
usurpers of the name, if we are not laborious ; for 
what is a scholar, but one who retireth his person, 
and avocateth his mind from other occupations, and 
worldly entertainments, that he may ax ^^ 61 "? 
vacare studiis, employ his mind and leisure on 
study and learning, in the search of truth, the 

432 Of Industry in our particular 

seem, quest of knowledge, the improvement of his rea- 
Lson b ? Wherefore an idle scholar, a lazy student, 

a sluggish man of learning is nonsense. 

What is learning, but a diligent attendance to 
instruction of masters, skilled in any knowledge, 
and conveying their notions to us in word or 
writing ? 

What is study, but an earnest, steady, persever- 
ing application of mind to some matter, on which 
we fix our thoughts, with intent to see through it? 
What in Solomon's language are these scholastic 
occupations, but inclining the ear, and applying our 

Prov - "■ * ; heart to understanding? than which commonly 
there is . nothing more laborious, more straining 
nature, and more tiring our spirits; whence it is 
well compared to the most painful exercises of 
body and soul. The Wise Man, advising men to 
seek wisdom, the which is the proper design of 
our calling, doth intimate that work to be like 
digging in the mines for silver, and like search- 
ing all about for concealed treasure; than which 
there can hardly be any more difficult and painful 

ii. 4 , 5 ; task : If, saith he, thou seekest her as silver, and 
sear chest for her as for hid treasures, then shcdt 
thou understand. Otherwhere he compareth the 
same work to assiduous watching and waiting, like 
that of a guard or a client, which are the greatest 
instances of diligence; Blessed, saith he, (or Wis- 

viii. 34- dom by him saith, Blessed) is the man that heareth 
me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts 
of my doors. 

Wherefore, if we will approve ourselves to be 
what we are called, and what we pretend to be; 

H orKpta ypafifiaTtovs iv (vKciip'ia o^oX^s'. F.ccliis xxxviii. 24. 

Calling, as Gentlemen and Scholars. 433 

if we will avoid being impostors, assuming a name sekm. 
not due to us, we must not be slothful. Further, - 

2 The matter and extent of our business doth 
require industry from us : the matter of it, which is 
truth and knowledge; the extent, which is very- 
large and comprehensive, taking in all truth, all 
knowledge, worthy our study, and useful for the 
designs of it. 

Our business is to find truth; the which, even in 
matters of high importance, is not easily to be dis- 
covered; being as a vein of silver, encompassed 
with earth and mixed with dross, deeply laid in the 
obscurity of things, wrapt up in false appearances, 
entangled with objections, and perplexed with de- 
bates; being therefore not readily discoverable, 
especially by minds clouded with prejudices, lusts, 
passions, partial affections, appetites of honour and 
interest; whence to descry it requireth the most 
curious observation and solicitous circumspection 
that can be ; together with great pains in the pre- 
paration and purgation of our minds toward the 
inquiry of it. 

Our business is to attain knowledge, not con- 
cerning obvious and vulgar matters, but about sub- 
lime, abstruse, intricate, and knotty subjects, remote 
from common observation and sense; to get sure 
and exact notions about which will try the best 
forces of our mind with their utmost endeavours; 
in firmly settling principles, in strictly deducing 
consequences, in orderly digesting conclusions, in 
faithfully retaining what we learn by our contem- 
plation and study. 

And if to get a competent knowledge about a 
few things, or to be reasonably skilful in any sort 
b. s. VOL. III. 28 

434 Of Industry in our particular 

seem, of learning, be difficult, how much industry doth 

1 1 it require to be well seen in many, or to have 

waded through the vast compass of learning, in no 
part whereof a scholar may conveniently or hand- 
somely be ignorant ; seeing there is such a connex- 
ion of things, and dependence of notions, that one 
part of learning doth confer light to another, that 
a man can hardly well understand any thing with- 
out knowing divers other things ; that he will be a 
lame scholar, who hath not an insight into many 
kinds of knowledge ; that he can hardly be a good 
scholar, who is not a general one. 

To understand so many languages, which are 
the shells of knowledge; to comprehend so many 
sciences, full of various theorems and problems; to 
peruse so many histories of ancient and modern 
times; to know the world, both natural and human; 
to be acquainted with the various inventions, in- 
quiries, opinions, and controversies of learned men ; 
to skill the arts of expressing our mind, and impart- 
ing our conceptions with advantage, so as to 
instruct or persuade others ; these are works indeed, 
which will exercise and strain all our faculties (our 
reason, our fancy, our memory) in painful study. 

The knowledge of such things is not innate to 
us ; it doth not of itself spring up in our minds ; it 
is not any ways incident by chance, or infused by 
grace, (except rarely by miracle ;) common observa- 
tion doth not produce it; it cannot be purchased at 
any rate, except by that, for which it was said of 
old, the gods sell all things, that is for pains ; with- 
out which, the best wit and greatest capacity may 
not render a man learned, as the best soil will not 

c Dii labnribus omnia vendunt 

Calling, as Gentlemen and Scholars. 435 

yield good fruit or grain, if they be not planted or serm. 
sown therein. XLVIL 

Consider, if you please, what a scholar Solomon 
was : beside his skill in Politics, which was his 
principal faculty and profession, whereby he did 
with admirable dexterity and prudence manage the 
affairs of that great kingdom, judging his people, i Kings m. 
and discerning what was good and bad; accurately 9 ; 
dispensing justice ; settling his country in a most 
nourishing state of peace, order, plenty, and wealth; 
largely extending his territory; so that his wisdom iv. »o, 25; 
of this kind was famous over the earth: beside, I Tv.^&c. 
say, this civil wisdom, he had an exquisite skill in x " 6 ' n ; 
Natural Philosophy and Medicine ; for, He spake ofi-v. 33 ; 
trees, or plants, from the cedar that is in Lebanon, 
even unto the hyssop that spring eth out of the 
wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and 
of creeping things, and of fishes. 

He was well versed in Mathematics; for it is 
said, Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all™-i°\ 
the children of the east-country, and all the wisdom of 
Egypt; the wisdom of which nations did consist in 
those sciences. And for his mechanic skill he left 
for a monument the most glorious structure that 
ever stood on earth. 

He was very skilful in Poetry and Music; for 
he did himself compose above a thousand songs; iv. 32. 
whereof one yet extant declareth the loftiness of 
his fancy, the richness of his vein, and the elegancy 
of his style. 

He had great ability in Rhetoric ; according to wisd. vii. 
that in Wisdom., God granted me to speak as I Eccie*. xii. 
would ; and that in Ecclesiastes, The preacher l\{ Qga 
sought to find out acceptable words ; a great instance vm ' 


436 Of Industry in our particular 

serm. of which faculty we have in that admirable prayer 

1 of his composure at the dedication of the Temple. 

He did wonderfully excel in Ethics ; concerning 

i Kings iv. which, He spake three thousand proverbs, or moral 

Eccies. xii. aphorisms ; and Moreover, saith Ecclesiastes, be- 

9 ' cause the preacher was wise, he still taught the people 

knowledge ; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, 

and set in order many proverbs ; the which did 

contain a great variety of notable observations, and 

useful directions for common life, couched in pithy 


Prov. ii. s, As for Theology, as the study of that was the 

&c * chief study to which he exhorteth others, (as to the 

head, or principal part, of wisdom,) so questionless 

he was himself most conversant therein ; for proof 

whereof he did leave so many excellent theorems 

and precepts of Divinity to us. 

In fine, there is no sort of knowledge, to which 

he did not apply his study ; witness himself in 

Eccies. i. those words, _Z" gave my heart to seek and search out 

by wisdom concerning all things that are done under 


Such a scholar was he ; and such if we have 
a noble ambition to be, we must use the course 
he did ; which was, first, in his heart to prefer 
wisdom before all worldly things ; then to pray to 
God for it, or for his blessing in our quest of it ; 
then, to use the means of attaining it, diligent 
searching and hard study ; for that was his method 
he telleth us ; 7, saith he, applied my heart to know, 
and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the 
reason of things. 

Such considerations shew the necessity of in- 
dustry for a scholar. But, 


TO. 25. 

Calling, as Gentlemen and Scholars. 437 

3 The worth, and excellency, and great utility, seem. 

together with the pleasantness of his vocation, - 

deserving the highest industry, do superadd much 
obligation thereto. 

We are much bound to be diligent out of in- 
genuity, and in gratitude to God, who by his 
gracious providence hath assigned to us a calling 
so worthy, an employment so comfortable, a way 
of life no less commodious, beneficial, and delightful 
to ourselves, than serviceable to God, and useful 
for the world. 

If we had our option and choice, what calling 
could we desire before this of any whereto men are 
affixed ? How could we better employ our mind, 
or place our labour, or spend our time, or pass our 
pilgrimage in this world, than in scholastical occu- 
pations ? 

It were hard to reckon up, or to express, the 
numberless great advantages of this calling : I shall 
therefore only touch some, which readily fall under 
my thought, recommending its value to us. 

It is a calling, the design whereof conspireth 
with the general end of our being ; the perfection 
of our nature in its endowments, and the fruition of 
it in its best operations. 

It is a calling, which doth not employ us in 
bodily toil, in worldly care, in pursuit of trivial 
affairs, in sordid drudgeries ; but in those angelical 
operations of soul, the contemplation of truth, and 
attainment of wisdom ; which are the worthiest 
exercises of our reason, and sweetest entertainments 
of our mind ; the most precious wealth, and most 
beautiful ornaments of our soul ; whereby our facul- 
ties are improved, are polished and refined, are 

438 Of Industry in our particular 

serm. enlarged in their power and use by habitual acces- 
1 sions : the which are conducible to our own greatest 

IO, II. 

profit and benefit, as serving to rectify our wills, to 
Prov. ii. 4) compose our affections, to guide our lives in the 
ways of virtue, to bring us unto felicity. 

It is a calling, which, being duly > followed, will 
most sever us from the vulgar sort of men, and 
advance us above the common pitch; enduing us 
with light to see further than other men, disposing 
us to affect better things, and to slight those 
meaner objects of human desire, on which men 
commonly dote; freeing us from the erroneous 
conceits and from the perverse affections of com- 
mon people. It is Said, AnrXouv opwaiv ol /uaOovre 1 } 

•ypafxixa-ra, Men of learning are double-sighted^ : but 
it is true, that in many cases they see infinitely 
further than a vulgar sight doth reach; and if a 
man by serious study doth acquire a clear and solid 
judgment of things, so as to assign to each its due 
weight and price; if he accordingly be inclined in 
his heart to affect and pursue them ; if, from clear 
and right notions of things, a meek and ingenuous 
temper of mind, a command and moderation of 
passions, a firm integrity, and a cordial love of 
goodness do spring, he thereby becometh another 
kind of thing, much different from those brutish 
men (beasts of the people) who blindly follow the 
motions of their sensual appetite, or the suggestions 
of their fancy, or their mistaken prejudices. 

It is a calling which hath these considerable 
advantages, that, by virtue of improvement therein, 
we can see with our own eyes, and guide ourselves 
by our own reasons, not being led blindfold about, 

d [Menand. Sentent. Sing. p. 330. Ed. Moinek.J 

Calling, as Gentlemen and Scholars. 439 

or depending precariously on the conduct of others, seem, 
in matters of highest concern to us; that we are 

exempted from giddy credulity, from wavering 
levity, from fond admiration of persons and things, 
being able to distinguish of things, and to settle 
our judgments about them, and to get an intimate 
acquaintance with them, assuring to us their true 
nature and worth ; that we are also thereby rescued 
from admiring ourselves, and that overweening 
self-conceitedness, of which the Wise Man saith, 
The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven Prov - xxvi - 
men that can render a reason. 

It is a calling, whereby we are qualified and 
enabled to do God service; to gratify his desires, 
to promote his honour, to advance his interests ; to 
render his name glorious in the world, by teaching, 
maintaining, and propagating his truth; by per- 
suading men to render their due love, reverence, 
and obedience to him ; than which we can have no 
more honourable or satisfactory employment; more 
like to that of the glorious and blessed spirits. 

It is a calling, the due prosecution whereof doth 
ingratiate us with God, and procureth his favour; 
rendering us fit objects of his love, and entitling us 
thereto in regard to our qualities, and recompense 
of our works : for, God loveth none hut him that wisd. vii. 
dwelleth with wisdom: and, So shalt thou find favour p s ' v . 5. 
and good understanding in the sight of God and Prov- m ' 4- 

It is a calling, whereby with greatest advantage 
we may benefit men, and deserve well of the world ; 
drawing men to the knowledge and service of God, 
reclaiming them from error and sin, rescuing them 
from misery, and conducting them to happiness; 

440 Of Industry in our particular 

seem, by clear instruction, by faithful admonition, by 

XLVIL powerful exhortation. And what can be more 

noble, than to be the lights of the world, the guides 

of practice to men, the authors of so much good, 

so egregious benefactors to mankind? 

It is a calling most exempt from the cares, the 
crosses, the turmoils, the factious jars, the anxious 
intrigues, the vexatious molestations of the world; its 
business lying out of the road of those mischiefs, 
wholly lying in solitary retirement, or being trans- 
acted in the most innocent and ingenuous company. 
It is a calling least subject to any danger or 
disappointment; wherein we may well be assured 
not to miscarry or lose our labour ; for the merchant, 
indeed, by manifold accidents may lose his voyage, 
or find a bad market ; the husbandman may plough 
and sow in vain : but the student hardly can fail of 
improving his stock, and reaping a good crop of 
knowledge ; especially if he study with a conscien- 
tious mind, and pious reverence to God, imploring 
his gracious help and blessing. 

It is a calling, the industry used wherein doth 
abundantly recompense itself, by the pleasure and 
sweetness which it carrieth in it; so that the more 
pains one taketh, the more delight he findeth, 
feeling himself proportionably to grow in know- 
ledge, and that his work becometh continually more 
easy to him. 

It is a calling, the business whereof doth so 
exercise as not to weary, so entertain as not to 
cloy us; being not (as other occupations are) a 
drawing in a mill, or a nauseous tedious repetition 
of the same work ; but a continued progress toward 
fresh objects ; our mind not being staked to one or 

Calling, as Gentlemen and Scholars. 441 

a few poor matters, but having immense fields of serm. 

contemplation, wherein it may everlastingly expa- - 

tiate, with great proficiency and pleasure 6 

It is a calling, which doth ever afford plentiful 
fruit, even in regard to the conveniences of this 
present and temporal state ; the which sufficiently 
will requite the pains expended thereon : for if we 
be honestly industrious, we shall not want success; 
and succeeding we shall not want a competence of 
wealth, of reputation, of interest in the world : for 
concerning wisdom, which is the result of honest 
study, the Wise Man telleth us, Riches and honour p r0 v. ™. 
are with her, yea, durable riches and righteousness : l8;m ' ' ' 
Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left 
hand riches and honour: Exalt her, and she shall iv. 8, 9. 
promote thee; she shall bring thee to honour, when 
thou dost embrace her; she shall give to thine head 
an ornament of grace, a crown of glory shall she 
deliver to thee. In common experience the wealth 
of the mind doth qualify for employments, which 
have good recompenses annexed to them; and 
neither God nor man will suffer him long to want, 
who is endowed with worthy accomplishments of 
knowledge. It was a ridiculous providence in 
Nero, that if he should chance to lose his empire, 
he might live by fiddling : yet his motto was good ; 
and Dionysius, another tyrant, found the benefit 
of it; To Te-)(yiov Travel yala Tpe(pei { , he that hath 

e Tr)pd(TK<o 8' del iroWa Maa-Kopevos. — [Solon apud Plut. Opp. 
Tom. i. p. 382. Ed. Reisk. Cf. Plat. Lach. 189 a. 'AXXa koi iya> 
ra 26K<ovc, cv povov Trpo&\a^av, i;vyx<>>pS>' yqpa<TK.a>v yap jroXXa StSa- , 

<rKe<rOai ede\co vtto xprjcrrtiv povov,] 

f [Prsedictum a mathematicis Neroni olim erat, fore ut quan- 
doque destitueretur ; unde ilia vox ejus celeberrima,— To rexviov 
n-ao-a yala rpefai. — Sueton. Nero. cap. xl.] 

442 Of Industry in our particular 

seem, any good art, hath therein an estate, and land in 
every place ; he is secured against being reduced to 

Ecci.vii. extremity of any misfortune: Wisdom, saith the 
Wise Man, is a defence, and money is a defence; 
hut the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom 
giveth life to them that have it: money is a defence, 
of which fortune may bereave us; but wisdom is 
beyond its attacks, being a treasure seated in a 
place inaccessible to external impressions. 

And as a learned man cannot be destitute of 
substance; so he cannot want credit g , having such 
an ornament, than which none hath a more general 
estimation; and which can be of low rate only 
among that sort of folk, to whom Solomon saith, 

Piw.i. 22, JJow long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? — 
and fools hate knowledge ? It is that which recom- 
mendeth a man in all company, and procureth 
regard, every one yielding attention and acceptance 
to instructive, neat, apposite discourse, (that which 
the Scripture calleth acceptable, pleasant, gracious 
words;) men think themselves obliged thereby by 
receiving information and satisfaction from it; and 

xxiv. 26 ; accordingly, Every man, saith the Wise Man, shall 

xxii. 11. kiss his lips that giveth a right answer; and, — For 
the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend; and, 

Eccies. x. The words of a wise mans mouth are gracious. It 
is that an eminency wherein purchaseth lasting 
fame, and a life after death, in the good memory 

Eccius. and opinion of posterity Many shall commend his 

xxxix. 9. understanding. an d so long as the world endur- 
eth, it shall not be blotted out: his memorial shall 
not depart away, and his name shall live from 

s A man shall be commmended according to his wisdom. — I'rov. 
xii. 8. 

Calling, as Gentlemen and Scholars. 443 

generation to generation. A fame no less great, and seem. 
far more innocent, than acts of chivalry and martial 

prowess; for is not Aristotle as renowned for 
teaching the world with his pen, as Alexander for 
conquering it with his sword ? Is not one far oftener 
mentioned than the other? Do not men hold them- 
selves much more obliged to the learning of the 
philosopher, than to the valour of the warrior? 
Indeed the fame of all others is indebted to the 
pains of the scholar, and could not subsist but with 
and by his fame : Dignum laude virum Musa vetat 
imori h ; learning consecrateth itself and its subject 
together to immortal remembrance. 

It is a calling that fitteth a man for all condi- 
tions and fortunes ; so that he can enjoy prosperity 
with moderation, and sustain adversity with com- 
fort: he that loveth a book will never want a 
faithful friend, a wholesome counsellor, a cheerful 
companion, an effectual comforter. By study, by 
reading, by thinking, one may innocently divert and 
pleasantly entertain himself, as in all weathers, so 
in all fortunes. 

In fine, it is a calling, which Solomon, who 
had curiously observed and exactly compared and 
scanned, by reason and by experience, all other 
occupations and ways of life, did prefer above all 
others; and we may presume would sooner have 
parted with his royal state, than with his learning ; 
for, Wisdom, saith he, is the 'principal thing, Prov.iv.7. 
therefore get wisdom; and with all thy getting get 
understanding; and, Then I saw (then, that is, Ecdos. h. 
after a serious disquisition and discussion of 
things, I saw) that wisdom excelleth folly (that is, 

h [Hor. Carm. iv. 8. 28.] 

444 Of Industry in our particular 

seem, knowledge excelleth ignorance) as light excelleth 
XLA IL darkness. 

These things and much more may be said of 
learning in general; but if more distinctly we sur- 
vey each part, and each object of it, we shall find 
that each doth yield considerable emoluments and 
delights ; benefit to our soul, advantage to our life, 
satisfaction to our mind. 

The observation of things, and collection of 
experiments, how doth it enrich the mind with 
ideas, and breed a kind of familiar acquaintance 
with all things, so that nothing doth surprise us, 
or strike our mind with astonishment and admira- 
Eccies.i. 8. tion ! And if our eye be not satisfied with seeing, 
nor our ear filled with hearing, how much less is 
our mind satiated with the pleasures of speculating 
and observing that immense variety of objects 
subject to its view! 

The exercise of our mind in rational discursive- 
ness about things, in quest of truth; canvassing 
questions, examining arguments for and against; 
how greatly doth it better us, fortifying our 
natural parts, enabling us to fix our thoughts on 
objects without roving, inuring us to weigh and 
resolve, and judge well about matters proposed ; 
preserving us from being easily abused by captious 
fallacies, gulled by specious pretences, tossed about 
with every doubt or objection started before us! 

Invention of any kind (in discerning the causes 
of abstruse effects, in resolving hard problems, in 
demonstrating theorems, in framing composures of 
witty description, or forcible persuasion,) how much 
doth it exceed the pleasure of hunting for any 
game, or of combating for any victory! Do any 

Calling, as Gentlemen and Scholars. 445 

man's children so much please him, as these crea- seem. 
tures of his brain ? XLVIL 

The reading of books, what is it but conversing 
with the wisest men of all ages and all countries, 
who thereby communicate to us their most delibe- 
rate thoughts, choicest notions, and best inventions, 
couched in good expression, and digested in exact 
method ? 

And as to the particular matters or objects of 
study, all have their use and pleasure. I shall only 
touch them. 

The very initial studies of tongues and gramma- 
tical literature are very profitable and necessary, as 
the inlets to knowledge, whereby we are enabled to 
understand wise men speaking their sense in their 
own terms and lively strain, whereby especially we 
are assisted to drink sacred knowledge out of the 
fountains, the divine Oracles. Luther would not 
part with a little Hebrew he had for all the Turkish 

Rhetoric, or the art of conveying our thoughts 
to others by speech with advantages of clearness, 
force, and elegancy, so as to instruct, to persuade, 
to delight the auditors ; of how great benefit is it, 
if it be well used ! How much may it conduce to 
the service of God, and edification of men ! What 
hath been a more effectual instrument of doing 
good, and working wonders not only in the world, 
but in the Church? How many souls have been 
converted from error, vanity, and vice, to truth, 
soberness, and virtue, by an eloquent Apollos 1 , a 
Basil, a Chrysostom? 

' 'Avrjp \6yios - . . Swards £v iv rals ypacpah. — Acts xviii. 24. 

446 Of Industry in our particular 

serm. The perusal of History, how pleasant illumina- 
---'- — '- tion of mind, how useful direction of life, how 
sprightly incentives to virtue doth it afford ! How 
doth it supply the room of experience, and furnish 
us with prudence at the expense of others, inform- 
ing us about the ways of action, and the conse- 
quences thereof by examples, without our own danger 
or trouble ! How may it instruct and encourage 
us in piety, while therein we trace the paths of God 
in men, or observe the methods of divine Pro- 
vidence, how the Lord and Judge of the world in 
due season protecteth, prospereth, blesseth, reward- 
eth innocence and integrity ; how he crosseth, 
defeateth, blasteth, curseth, punisheth iniquity and 
outrage; managing things with admirable temper 
of wisdom, to the good of mankind, and advance- 
ment of his own glory ! 

The Mathematical Sciences, how pleasant is the 
speculation of them to the mind ! How useful is 
the practice to common life ! How do they whet 
and excite the mind! How do they inure it to 
strict reasoning and patient meditation ! 

Natural Philosophy, the contemplation of this 
great theatre, or visible system presented before 
us ; observing the various appearances therein, 
and inquiring into their causes ; reflecting on the 
order, connexion, and harmony of things; con- 
sidering their original source, and their final design : 
how doth it enlarge our minds, and advance them 
above vulgar amusements, and the admiration 
of those petty things, about which men cark and 
bicker ! How may it serve to work in us pious 
affections of admiration, reverence, and love to- 
Rom. i. 20. ward our great Creator, whose eternal divinity is 

Calling, as Gentlemen and Scholars. 447 

clearly seen, whose glory is declared, whose trans- serm. 
cendent perfections and attributes of immense XLVIL 
power, wisdom, and goodness, are conspicuously Psal -.. xix - 
displayed, whose particular kindness toward us 
men doth evidently shine in those his works 
of nature ! 

The study of Moral Philosophy, how exceed- 
ingly beneficial may it be to us, suggesting to us 
the dictates of reason, concerning the nature and 
faculties of our soul, the chief good and end of our 
life, the way and means of attaining happiness, the 
best rules and methods of practice ; the distinctions 
between good and evil, the nature of each virtue, 
and motives to embrace it; the rank wherein we 
stand in the world, and the duties proper to our 
relations : by rightly understanding and estimating 
which things we may know how to behave ourselves 
decently and soberly toward ourselves, justly and 
prudently toward our neighbours ; we may learn to 
correct our inclinations, to regulate our appetites, 
to moderate our passions, to govern our actions, to 
conduct and wield all our practice well in prosecu- 
tion of our end; so as to enjoy our being and con- 
veniences of life in constant quiet and peace, with 
tranquillity and satisfaction of mind ! 

But especially the study of Theology, how 
numberless, unexpressible advantages doth it yield ! 

It enlighteneth our minds with the best know- 
ledge concerning the most high and worthy objects, 
in order to the most happy end, with the firmest 

It certainly and perfectly doth inform us 
concerning the nature and attributes, the will 

448 Of Industry in our particular 

serm. and intentions, the works and providence of 
xlvii. „ , 

It fully declareth to us our own nature, our ori- 
ginal, our designed end, our whole duty, our certain 
way of attaining eternal life and felicity. 

It exactly teacheth us how we should demean 
ourselves in all respects piously toward God, justly 
and charitably toward our neighbour, soberly to- 
ward ourselves; without blame in the world, with 
satisfaction of our conscience, with assured hope of 
blessed rewards. 

It proposeth those encouragements, and exhibit- 
eth assurances of those helps, which serve potently 
to engage us in all good practice. 

It setteth before us a most complete and lively 
pattern of all goodness ; apt most clearly to direct, 
most strongly to excite, most obligingly to engage 
us thereto ; especially instructing and inclining to 
the practice of the most high and hard duties, 
meekness, humility, patience, self-denial, contempt 
of all worldly vanities, 
i Pet. i. 12. It discovereth those sublime mysteries and stu- 
tus in. 4. p en( j oug W onders of grace, whereby God hath 
demonstrated an incomprehensible kindness to 
mankind, and our obligation to correspondent gra- 

It representeth manifold arguments and incen- 
tives to love God with most intense affection, to 
confide in him with most firm assurance, to delight 
i Pet. i. 8. in him continually with joy unspeakable ; which are 
the noblest, the sweetest, the happiest operations of 
our soul. 
2 Cor. iv. It reareth our hearts from vain thoughts, and 

l8- mean desires concerning these poor, transitory, 

Calling, as Gentlemen and Scholars. 449 

earthly things, to contemplations, affections, and serm. 
hopes toward objects most excellent, eternal, and - 


It engageth us to study the Book of God, the 
Book of Books, the richest mine of most excellent 
knowledge, containing infallible oracles of truth, 
and heavenly rules of life ; Which are able to make 2 Tim. iii. 
us wise to salvation, and perfect to every good work. pg'_ xix 

And how can we otherwise be so well employed, IO- 
as in meditation about such things? "What occu- 
pation doth nearer approach to that of the blessed 
angels ? What heaven is there upon earth like to 
that of constantly feasting our minds and hearts in 
the contemplation of such objects? Especially con- 
sidering, that this study doth not only yield private 
benefit to ourselves in forwarding our own salva- 
tion, but enableth us by our guidance and encou- 
ragement to promote the eternal welfare of others, 
and by our endeavours to people heaven, according 
to that exhortation of St Paul pressing on Timothy 
this study with diligence : Meditate upon these i Tim. iv. 
things; give thyself wholly to them, that thy profiting I ' * ' 
may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and 
unto the doctrine; continue in them; for in doing 
this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear 

So considerable is each part of learning, so ex- 
tremely profitable are some parts of it; indeed the 
skill of any liberal art is valuable, as a handsome 
ornament, as an harmless divertisement, as an 
useful instrument upon occasions ; as preferable to 
all other accomplishments and advantages of person 
or fortune, (beauty, strength, wealth, power, or the 
like;) for who would not purchase any kind of such 
b. s. vol. iit. 29 

vm. I 

450 - Of Industry in our particular 

seem, knowledge at any rate; who would sell it for any 

' ._____■_ price ; who would not choose rather to be deformed 

or impotent in his body, than to have a misshapen 

and weak mind ; to have rather a lank purse, than 

an empty brain; to have no title at all, than no 

worth to bear it out 1 If any would, he is not of 

i Kings iv. Solomon's mind ; for of wisdom (by which he mean- 

39 ~ 34 ' eth a comprehension of all knowledge, divine and 

human; into which the knowledge of natural 

things, of Mathematics, of Poetry, are reckoned 

Prov. m. ingredients) he saith, The merchandise of it is better 

'than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof 

than fine gold; she is more 'precious than rubies, 

and all the things thou canst desire are not to be 

f 19 ; compared unto her. Her fruit is better than gold, 

'■ iv.' 7 ;' yea than fine gold; and her revenue than choice 


Now then, considering all these advantages of 
our calling, if we by our negligence or sluggishness 
therein do lose them, are we not very ingrateful to 
God ; who gave them, as with a gracious intent for 
our good, so with expectation that we should 
improve them to his service ? If God had allotted 
to us the calling of rustics, or of artificers, we had 
been impious in not diligently following it ; but we 
are abominably ingrateful in neglecting this most 
incomparably excellent vocation. 

Are we not extremely defective to ourselves, 
if indulging a wretched humour of laziness we 
will not enjoy those sweet pleasures, nor embrace 
those great profits to which God in mercy calleth 
v. p. us? If Solomon said true, lie that gctteth wisdom 
loveth his own soul, he that keepelli, understanding shall 
find good; how little friends are we to ourselves, 

Calling, as Gentlemen and Scholars. 451 

how neglectful of our own welfare, by not using the serm. 
means of getting wisdom ! 1 

The heart of him that hath understanding seek- Prov. xv. 
eth knowledge, saith Solomon; what a fool then is 
he that shunneth it! who, though it be his way, 
and his special duty to seek it, yet neglecteth it ; 
choosing rather to do nothing, or to do worse. 

And do we not deserve great blame, displea- 
sure, and disgrace from mankind, if, having such 
opportunities of qualifying ourselves to do good, 
and serve the public, we by our idleness render 
ourselves worthless and useless ? 

How, being slothful in our business, can we 
answer for our violating the wills, for abusing the 
goodness, for perverting the charity and bounty of 
our worthy founders and benefactors, who gave us 
the good things we enjoy, not to maintain us in 
idleness, but for supports and encouragements of 
our industry ? how can we excuse ourselves from 
dishonesty, and perfidious dealing, seeing that .we 
are admitted to these enjoyments under condition, 
and upon confidence (confirmed by our free promises 
and most solemn engagements) of using them 
according to their pious intent, that is, in a diligent 
prosecution of our studies; in order to the service of 
God, and of the public? 

Let every scholar, when he misspendeth an hour, 
or sluggeth on his bed, but imagine that he heareth 
the voice of those glorious kings, or venerable 
prelates, or worthy gentlemen, complaining thus, 
and rating him : Why, sluggard, dost thou against 
my will possess my estate? why dost thou presume 
to occupy the place due to an industrious person ? 
why dost thou forget or despise thy obligations to 


452 Of Industry in our particular Calling, &c. 

sehm. my kindness? thou art an usurper, a robber, or a 

purloiner of my goods, which I never intended for 

such as thee ; I challenge thee of wrong to myself, 
and of sacrilege toward my God, to whose service I 
devoted those his gifts to me. 

How reproachful will it be to us, if that expostu- 
Prov. xvii. ] a tion may concern us, Wherefore is there a price 
in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no 
heart to it ? 

If to be a dunce or a bungler in any profession 
be shameful, how much more ignominious and 
infamous to a scholar to be such ! from whom all 
men expect that he should excel in intellectual 
abilities, and be able to help others by his instruc- 
tion and advice. 

Nothing surely would more grate 'on the heart 
of one that hath a spark of ingenuity, of modesty, 
of generous good nature, than to be liable to such 
an imputation 

To avoid it therefore, (together with all the guilt 
and all the mischiefs attending on sloth,) let each 
of us, in God's name, carefully mind his business ; 
and let the grace and blessing of God prosper you 
therein. Amen. 



Romans XI. 33. 

How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past 
finding out! 

THESE words are the close of a disputation, SERM 
wherein St Paul was engaged with the advo- XLVIIL 
cates of Judaism, concerning God's providence 
toward his ancient people, in rejecting the greatest 
part of them, upon their refusal to embrace the 
Christian doctrine; and in admitting the Gentile 
world to favour upon its compliance with the over- 
tures thereof proposed in the Gospel. In this 
proceeding those infidels could not discern God's 
hand, nor would allow such a dispensation worthy 
of him, advancing several exceptions against it: 
God, said they, having espoused and consecrated 
us to himself ; having to our fathers*, in regard to 
their piety, made so absolute promises of bene- 
diction on their posterity; having consequently 
endowed us with such privileges and choice pledges 
of his favour; having taken so much pains with 

* Having so indented with our fathers as, in reward of 
their piety, to make to them absolute promises of benedic- 
tion upon their posterity. MS. 

454 The Unsearchableness 

serm. us, and performed so great things in our behalf; 

having so long avowed, supported, and cherished 

us ; how can it well consist with his wisdom, with 
his justice, with his fidelity, with his constancy, 
thus instantly to abandon and repudiate us? Doth 
not this dealing argue his former affections to have 
been misplaced ? Doth it not implead his ancient 
covenant and law of imperfection? Doth it not 
supplant his own designs, and unravel all that he 
for so many ages hath been doing? Upon such 
accounts did this dispensation appear very strange 
and scandalous to them : but St Paul, being infalli- 
bly assured of its truth, doth undertake to vindicate 
it from all misprisions, rendering a fair account 
of it, and assigning for it many satisfactory reasons*, 

* But the Apostle being infallibly assured of its truth, 
doth undertake to vindicate it from all misprisions, rendering 
a fair account of it, and assigning for it many satisfactory 
reasons ; such as these. 

I That God never was, nor could be tied to dispense 
grace and mercy to any of his creatures in any other way, 

Rom. ix. or upon other terms, than such as he should freely choose 

J t r. xviii. an & think fit to appoint. 

6 - 2 That it was most just, suitable to the Divine attri- 

butes-, and necessary according to the immutable reason of 
the case, that those who would not close with his terms, or 

Rom. ix. who would not submit to his will, should be rejected from 
grace ; those who did embrace and comply with them, should 
be accepted. 

3 That the terms and overtures propounded by God 
(the terms of faith and obedience, the overtures of mercy 
and grace, upon compliance with those terms) were in 
themselves equal, reasonable, becoming God, befitting man, 

ix. 30 ; and agreeable to the tenor of Holy Scripture ; but that the 
way, which they pretended to establish in opposition thereto 

22 ; xi. 22. 

x . 5 , ] 1 . 

of God's Judgments. 455 

drawn from the general equity of the case, from serm. 
the nature of God, his attributes, and his relations 1 

(the way of legal righteousness, excluding faith and pardon R om . m. 9; 
thereby) was harsh, impracticable, unsuitable to the state* 1 - 3*:. 
and needs of mankind, dishonourable to God, and dissonant 22. 
to his revealed will. Rom.iv.». 

4 That God never absolutely did intend, or had promised 
to keep the whole nation of the Jews in special favour with 

him ; but only those who by faith and obedience should ix. 6, &c. 
approve themselves genuine children of Abraham. GaT'iii - 

5 That God had not totally deserted the nation ; nor 
had his intentions and promises to Abraham, even in regard 
to his temporal seed, been wholly frustrated ; for that divers 

of them, a considerable remnant, among whom St Paul him- R om .ix. 6, 
self was one, had embraced the Gospel, and thereby did 2 9 ; x }- r > 
stand firm in possession of God's favour ; God having foreseen 
their willingness to comply with him, and having therefore, x i. 2. 
in dispensation of mercy to them, determined to preserve 
his gracious regard to Abraham's posterity. 

6 That, indeed, God had not so much as deserted any 

one of them, having exhibited general invitations to compli- Rom. xi. 
ance, whereby all were put into capacity of retaining or jj e ^, 3 ' iv t 
recovering his favour. 

7 That God with abundant patience did wait for their 
conversion, indulging them competent means, and power- R° m : . ix - 
ful motives to draw them thereto ; there being also no urgent 
temptation on them to refuse so equal and easy terms. 

8 That in consequence to these things, their fall was not 
to be charged on God's want of faithfulness, of constancy, 

of kindness toward them ; but to their affected blindness and ». 7, 15 ; 
stupidity ; their wilful perverseness and obduration, their 
fond presumption and arrogance ; who would not apprehend 
God's pleasure clearly revealed, and demonstrated by cogent 
proofs ; or being convinced would not yield submission thereto, 
but obstinately would persist in seeking justification by their 
own way of performing legal services, without regard to the ix. 31; 
mercy and grace of God exhibited in the Gospel. x- 3 ' X1, ' 


x. 12; 

456 The Unsearchableness 

seem, to men ; from the congruity of this proceeding to 
the tenor of God's providence, to his most ancient 

9 That hence it was no wise unjust, or incongruous to 
any attribute of God, that he should take advantage upon 

Rom. ix. their stubborn infidelity and disobedience to glorify his power 
and justice in discarding and punishing them. 

10 That as to the Gentiles, his admitting them to a 
capacity of favour and salvation was a thing in itself most 

iii. 29, 22; j us t 5 and worthy of God, the universal Father and gracious 
Lord of all men. 

1 1 That it was agreeable to the declarations, which God 
x.i3;ix.24. had promulged to the world, of regarding all indifferently, 

who should address themselves for mercy to him. 

12 That it did suit to the true intent, and reasonable 
interpretation of the covenant made with Abraham ; wherein 
a blessing was provided to all his seed : which in reason 

iv. 11, 12, should extend to those, who in a nobler way, than by carnal 
ix.8 ' propagation, were his children; namely by walking in the 
Gal. iii. 7. footsteps of his faith, and being conformable to his piety, 

who also by nature were allied to Christ, and by faith did 
iii. 16. adhere to him ; who was principally meant to be that Seed 

in which all nations should be blessed. 

Rom. ix. 9, 13 That God by mystical insinuations had presignified, 

Galfv 22 an( ^ ky many clear prophecies had foretold the reception of 

Rom. ix. the Gentiles into favour, and rejection of the Jews ; whereby 

5 ' x ' ' this dispensation appeareth correspondent to God's ancient 


14 That this proceeding, as it was in no respect prejudi- 
cial to them, so it was beneficial as a mean of reclaiming them 

Rom.x.19; from their desperate course, by provoking them to emulation, 
x1 ' "' 3I " reflecting on the blessings vouchsafed to the Gentiles upon their 
belief, and the flourishing state of the Christian Church. 

15 In fine, that God still did reserve favourable inten- 
xi. 26, 27; tions toward them, meaning to dispense all means conducible 

to their recovery ; which would in due time find effect so 
xi. 23, 24. considerable, that many of them would be re-incorporated 
into his Church. MS. 

of God's Judgments. 457 

purposes, to the true intent of his promises, to his If^m 

express declarations and predictions; to the state — 

of things in the world, and the pressing needs of 
all mankind: such reasons (I say, which I have 
not time more explicitly to relate) doth the Apostle 
produce in favour of this great dispensation; the 
which did suffice to clear and justify it from all 
their objections : yet notwithstanding, after that he 
had steered his discourse through all these rocks, 
he thought it safe to cast anchor; winding up the 
contest in this modest intimation, that whatever he 
could say, might not perhaps exhaust the difficulty, 
or void all scruple; that therefore in this, and in all 
such cases, for entire satisfaction, we should have 
recourse to the incomprehensible wisdom of God, 
who frequently in the course of his providence doth 
act upon grounds, and ordereth things in methods, 
transcending our ability to discover or trace : to 
consider some causes and reasons of which incom- 
prehensibility, and to ground thereon some practical 
advices, will be the scope of my discourse * : the 
reasons may be these : 

* To consider the reasons of which incomprehensibility, 
and to ground thereon some practical advices, will be the 
scope of my discourse ; after that I have observed some- 
what concerning the words, and touched a caution about the 
drift of the Apostle. 

The Apostle doth express the incomprehensibility of 
divine providence in two propositions; one is, God's judg- 
ments are unsearchable, the other, God's ways are untrace- 
able ; whereof the former may seem properly referable to the 
reason of God's proceedings, the other to the manner of 
them : we cannot exactly discover why (according to what 
designs of wisdom, or what rules of justice) God acteth, 

458 TJie Unsearchableness 

xLvin I ^- s ^ ne dealings of very wise men sometimes 

are founded upon maxims, and admit justifications, 

not obvious nor penetrable by vulgar conceit; so 
may God act accordingto rules of wisdom and justice, 

therefore his judgments are unsearchable ; we cannot perfectly 
discern how (in what order, at what season, by what 
means and instruments) God worketh, therefore His ways 
are untraceable; such a distinction may be conceived; but 
it may be questioned whether the Apostle did intend it, and 
did not rather mean (as is ordinary for the clearer illustra- 
tion, and deeper impression of things) by variety of expression 
Ps. cxlv. to assert the same thing ; for seeing, The Lord is righteous 
ci'i. 7. ' * w a ^ his ways, and holy in all his works; seeing, All the 
works of his hand are verity and judgment, these words 
being applied to God are commonly equivalent; whence 
Eev. xv. 3; in the Revelation, Just and true are thy ways, thou King 
of Saints, and, Allelujah to the Lord our God, for true 
and righteous are his judgments, are acclamations of praise, 
importing one sense; we shall not therefore subtilize, or 
sever the propositions, but consider them together as jointly 
signifying the every way incomprehensible nature of divine 

Again, as to the Apostle's drift, we may remark, that 
he doth not to reclaim or to discourage us from the con- 
templation of Providence ; or from inquiry into the reasons 
or methods thereof ; nor doth he mean to intimate, that we 
cannot ever by our search and study arrive to some pittance 
of knowledge about them; for his own practice sheweth, 
that he seriously and successfully had contemplated them, 
even in the present case ; and in divers passages of Scripture 
to ponder and to understand providential dispensations, is 
represented to us not only as a point of special wisdom, 
but as matter of duty ; or a practice much conducible to the 
promotion of divine glory, and to the production of good 
affections in us. There is not, indeed, any inconsistence 
between understanding, and not comprehending ; between 

of God's Judgments. 459 

which it may be quite impossible by our faculties to sebm. 

apprehend, or with our means to descry. '- 

As there are natural modes of being and ope- 
ration, (such as God's necessary subsistence, his 

seeking to know somewhat, and not aspiring to know all 
concerning any object: for may we not touch what we 
cannot grasp, may we not view what we cannot survey ? Is 
the Ocean less visible because standing on the shore we 
cannot descry its utmost bounds ? May we not behold the 
Sun, because we cannot glare on him, or pierce through his 
deep orb of light? Doth the inexhaustibleness of a rich mine 
forbid us to partake of its wealth ; or the perennity of a foun- 
tain hinder our drawing from it? So neither doth the 
incomprehensibility of Providence any wise prejudice its 
intelligibility, but rather doth promote it ; and well may it 
be rather a spur than a curb to our contemplation thereof : 
seeing the deeper and wider it is, the further we may dive 
into it, the more of it we may ken ; so that hence we may 
continually grow wiser without any stop or satiety, and may 
eternally become proficients in the study of it. 

St Paul therefore asserting the inscrutability of Pro- 
vidence doth not discountenance a careful inspection 
thereof; or a sober inquisition into its ways ; he doth not 
check our industry in considering it, but he quasheth our 
immodesty in presuming to comprehend it ; teaching us, 
that in some cases it surpasseth our capacity to discern 
what God meaneth, why he acteth thus, and how he bringeth 
things about ; for that in his proceedings there are 
clouds which our light cannot penetrate ; there are depths 
which our reason cannot sound, there are knots which our 
wit cannot unfold. 

That so it is common experience doth attest ; we may 
oft hear men complain of it ; many both good and bad, have 
ever been offended at it ; it always will be a grand cause, 
why it is so difficult to satisfy a froward and to convince 
a profane mind ; but why it is so, I come now to assign 
some causes. MS. 

460 The Unsearchdbleness 

seem, production of things from nothing, his eternity with- 

out succession, his immensity without extension, his 

prescience without necessitation of events, his ever 
acting, but never changing; and the like,) so there 
may be prudential and moral rules of proceeding far 
isai.iv. 9. above our reach; so God himself telleth us : As the 
heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways 
higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your 
thoughts. Some of them we may be uncapable to 
know, because of our finite nature; they being 
peculiar objects of divine wisdom, and not to be 
understood by any creature : for as God cannot im- 
part the power of doing all things possible, so may 
he not communicate the faculty of knowing all 
things intelligible; that being indeed to ungod 
himself, or to deprive himself of his peerless supre- 
iTim. 1. macy in wisdom; hence he is styled The only wise 
Rom. xvi. God; hence he is said to dwell in light inaccessible; 
Jude 25. hence he chargeth the angels with folly ; hence the 
j 6 im ' V1 ' most illuminate Seraphims do veil their faces before 

Job iv. 18. J^ 
Isai. vi. 2. 

Other such rules we may not be able to perceive 
from the meanness of our nature, or our low rank 
among creatures : for beneath omniscience there 
being innumerable forms of intelligence, in the 
lowest of these we sit, one remove from beasts ; 
being endowed with capacities suitable to that in- 
ferior station, and to those meaner employments, for 
Ps. cm. ,10. which we were designed and framed ; whence our 
11. ' mind hath a pitch, beyond which it cannot soar; 
and things clearly intelligible to more noble crea- 
tures, moving in a higher orb, may be dark and 
iSam.xiv. unexplicable to us : As an angel of God, so is my 
xix.27. lord the king, to discern good and bad, was an 

of God's Judgments. 461 

expression importing' this difference, how those seem. 


glorious creatures do overtop us in intellectual - 


Also divers notions not simply passing our 
capacity to know, we are not yet in condition to 
ken, by reason of our circumstances here, in this 
dark corner of things, to which we are confined, 
and wherein we lie under many disadvantages of 
attaining knowledge. He that is shut up in a 
close place, and can only peep through chinks, who 
standeth in a valley, and hath his prospect inter- 
cepted, who is encompassed with fogs, who hath 
but a dusky light to view things by, whose eyes 
are weak or foul, how can he see much or far ; how 
can he discern things remote, minute, or subtle, 
clearly and distinctly? Such is our case; our mind 
is pent up in the body, and looketh only through 
those clefts by which objects strike our sense; its 
intuition is limited within a very small compass ; it 
resideth in an atmosphere of fancy, stuffed with 
exhalations from temper, appetite, passion, interest; 
its light is scant and faint, (for sense and expe- 
rience do reach only some few gross matters of 
fact; light infused, and revelation imparted to us, 
proceed from arbitrary dispensation, in definite 
measures;) our ratiocination consequently from 
such principles must be very short and defective; 
nor are our minds ever thoroughly sound, or pure 
and defecate from prejudices; hence no wonder 
that now we are wholly ignorant of divers great 
truths, or have but a glimmering notion of them, 
which we may and hereafter shall come fully and 
clearly to understand; so that even Apostles, the ^ ^ ... 
secretaries of heaven, might say, We know in part, 9 . , 2 ." ' 

462 The Unsearchableness 

seem, and we prophesy in part; we now see through a 

glass darkly, but then face to face* 

In fine, those rules of equity or expedience, 
which we in our transactions with one another do 
use, (being derived from our original inclinations to 
like some good things, or from notions stamped on 
our soul when God made us according to his image, 
from common experience, from any kind of rational 
collection, from the prescription of God's word,) if 
they be applied to the dealings of God, will be found 
very incongruous, or deficient ; the case being vastly 
altered, from that infinite distance in nature and 
state between God and us; and from the immense 
differences which his relations toward us have from 
our relations to one another. 

Wherefore in divers inquiries about Providence, 
to which our curiosity will stretch itself, it is impos- 
sible for us to be resolved ; and launching into them, 
we shall soon get out of our depth, so as to swim in 
dissatisfaction, or to sink into distrust : Why God 
made the world at such an instant, no sooner or 
later; why he made it thus, not exempt from all 
disorder; why he framed man (the prince of visible 
creatures) so fallible and frail, so prone to sin, so 

i Cor. xiii. * So that even Apostles might say, We know impart, and 
<) ' 12 ' we prophesy in part ; having no complete revelation of God's 
mind ; We do noio see through a glass darkly ; hi ea-onrpov, 
through a speculum, that is not directly, but upon reflection, 
as we see the Sun in a pool, whom we cannot look on in the 
firmament ; lv alvly^an, not in distinct expression, but in way 
of riddle, or mysterious intimation ; but then (added he, we 
shall see) face to face, that is immediately, directly, clearly; 
our faculties being improved, and our means of knowing 
enlarged. MS. 

of God's Judgments. 463 

liable to misery; why so many things happen of- seem. 

fensive to him; why his gifts are distributed with - 

such inequality; such questions we are apt to pro- 
pound and to debate; but the resolution of ^hem 
our mind perhaps was not made to apprehend; nor 
in its most elevate condition shall attain it : how- 
ever in this state we by no means can come at it; 
it at least being kept close from us among those 
things, of which it is said, The secret things belong Deut - Xxix - 
unto the Lord our God, in distinction from others, 
about which it is added, but those that are revealed 
belong unto us, and to our children for ever*, 

* This is that, which God in justification of his dealings 
with us doth himself sometime declare ; My thoughts, saith isai. lv. 8, 
he, are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways ; for 9 ' 
as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways 
higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 
This Job's friend allegeth to the same purpose: Canst thou Job.xi.7,8; 
by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty to 
perfection ? it is as high as heaven ; what canst thou do ? 
deeper than hell ; what canst thou know ? This made Job him- 
self thus direct his speech to God, Hast thou eyes of flesh, x. 4 ; 
seest thou as man seeth ? And this made him, after consider- 
ing the more obvious works of God, to conclude ; Lo, these xxvi. 14. 
are parts of his ways, but how little a portion is heard of him ? 
This made David, upon contemplation of Providence, to 
exclaim, Lord, how great are thy works ; and thy thoughts p s . xcii. 5 ; 
are very deep ; Thy fragments are a great deep ; ttoXXij xxxvl - 
aPvo-o-os, a huge abyss, not to be sounded by our reason : this 
made Solomon to close all his diligent search and deep 
meditation upon providential occurrences, with these sayings ; Eooles. iii. 
No man can find out the work of the Lord from the beginning XI ' 
to the end. — Though a man labour to seek it out, yet he shall viii. 17; 
not find it; though a wise man think to know it, yet he 
shall not find it out : this made him to confess, or to bemoan 
his own disappointment in such researches and studies ; / 

464 The Unsearchableness 

serm. In SU ch cases the absolute will, the sovereign 
authority, the pure liberality of God do supply the 

Eccles. vii. said, I will be wise, but it was far from me ; saying this, 

Job xxviii because the incomprehensibility of Divine wisdom is more 

12. especially manifested to those, who by the grace of God 

have attained greatest measure of knowledge ; as St Basil a 

occasionally reflecteth on these words. 

Hence although God never acteth without highest reason, 
it doth in many cases suffice to allege, in lieu of other 
reasons whereof we may not be capable, the absolute will, 
the sovereign authority, the pure liberality of God, which 
may serve, if not to satisfy the minds, yet to stop the mouths 
of those, who are boldly peremptory, or fondly curious: 
Rom. ix. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy ; Nay, but 
^- , man, who art thou that repliest against God? Woe unto 
xxxiii. 19. him, that striveih with his maker ; Who is this, that darkeneth 
2O 0m ' K ' counsels by words without knowledge f Shall he that con- 
Isai.xlv.9. tendeth with the Almighty instruct him? Such words may 
xxxviii. 1 • dash our confidence, if we will be contesting and cavilling 
xl - 2 - about points too high and hard for us : the intent of them is 
not to imply, that God ever acteth unaccountably, or in a way 
merely arbitrary ; but that sometimes, his rules and reasons 
of action are not fit subjects of our conception, or discus- 
sion ; otherwise he doth not wave the verdict of our reason, 
when the case is such, that we can apprehend it, and the 
apprehension of it may conduce to beget good affections in 
us, or good practice. He was not angry with Abraham, 
Gen. xviii. when he expostulated — Shall not the Judge of all the earth 
Jer x'i do right ? He disallowed not Jeremy to say, Righteous art 
thou, Lord, when I plead with thee ; yet let me talk with 
thee of thy judgments, wherefore doth the way of the wicked 
Job prosper? He biddeth Job gird up his loins like a man, 

xxxvm. 3. that is, with his utmost force of reason and intention of 
mind, to reflect on his doings. He vouchsafeth to argue 

Ou 7-<5 (pfvyeiv, aWa t5> gkclvois fJ.a\i<TTa (pav€pov<r6ai nvTrjs 
to aKaTa\r)7TTOv, ou ©eo{S ^apiri 7T(pi<TaoTepa>s npoayeyovtv rj yvaxris. 
— Opp. Tom. 11. p. 354. [Ed. Paris. 16L8.] 


of God's Judgments. 465 

place of reasons; sufficient, if not to satisfy the serm. 
minds of men fondly curious, yet to stop the XLVm 
mouths of those who are boldly peremptory : the f 0m ' ix< 
which are alleged, not with intent to imply, that Is ^- xlv -9 
God ever acteth unaccountably, or without highest 
reason, but that sometimes his methods of acting 
are not fit subjects of our conception or discussion; 
for, otherwhile, God appealeth to the verdict of our 
reason; when the case is such that we can apprehend Gen. 
it, and the apprehension of it may conduce to good Ez'ek 
purposes. 25. 

2 As the standing rules of God's acting, so the ^ V 5 
occasional grounds thereof are commonly placed 
beyond the sphere of our apprehension. 

God is obliged to prosecute his own immutable 
decrees; Working all things, as the Apostle saith, Eph . ;. Ir . 
according to the counsel of his own will; which 
how can we anywise come to discover? Can we 
climb up above the heaven of heavens, and there 
unlock his closet, rifle his cabinet, and peruse the 
records of everlasting destiny, by which the world 
is governed? No; Who knoweth his mind, or hath R om . xi. 
been his counsellor ? Who, saith the Prophet, hath i\ 4 ai . xL I3 . 
stood in the counsel of the Lord; or hath perceived ^ xxiii ' 
and heard his word? Wisd - ix - 

He doth search the hearts, and try the reins of Prov. 
men; He doth weigh their spirits, and their works; isai. xxvi. 
He doth know their frame, He doth understand their i's am . „. 
thoughts afar off; he perceiveth their closest inten- |' s ci;; 
tions, their deepest contrivances, their most retired ^ xxxix " 2 ' 
behaviours ; he consequently is acquainted with J° b xiv - 6 - 

the case with Jonah. He with much earnestness doth make Jonal1 1V - 
, • IO - 

that appeal, Hear now, house of Israel, is not my way Ezek. xviii. 

equal? MS. * 5J - „ 

-* ■u-M.tu. XXXU1. 20. 

B. S. VOL. III. 30 

466 The Unsearchableness 

serm. their true qualifications, capacities, and merits; 

1 unto which he most justly and wisely doth accom- 
modate his dealings with them ; the which therefore 
must often thwart the opinions and expectations of 
us, who are ignorant of those particulars, and can 
only view the exterior face or semblance of things' 3 : 
for (as Samuel, in the case of preferring David be- 

iSam.xvi. f ore hi s brethren, did say) God seeth not as man 
seeth; for man looheth on the outward appearance, 
hut God looheth on the heart. 

God also hath a perfect foresight of contingent 

isai. xiv. events ; he seeth upon what pin each wheel moveth, 

"' and with what weight every scale will be turned; 

he discerneth all the connections, all the entangle- 
ments of things, and what the result will be upon 
the combination, or the clashing of numberless 
causes ; in correspondence to which perceptions he 
doth order things consistently and conveniently; 
whereas we being stark blind, or very dim-sighted 
in such respects, (seeing nothing future, and but 
few things present,) cannot apprehend what is fit 
and feasible ; or why that is done, which appeareth 
done to us. 

God observeth in what relations, and what de- 
grees of comparison, (as to their natures, their 
virtues, their consequences,) all things do stand, 
each toward others ; so poising them in the balance 
of right judgment, as exactly to distinguish their 
just weight and worth: whereas we cannot tell 
what things to compare, we know not how to put 

Hfxels fias yap jxova 6pap.fv to. irpayfiara' 6 8e ra>v oku>v Qeos, 
Kai tu>v Tavra dpcuvraiv fnicrTaTai tov ctkottov, koc tovtco p.aX\ov *j rois 

fpyois 8iKa£a>v eKCptpti rfjv \}rrj<poi'. TlieOflor. Ep. III. [Opp.Toin. III. 

p. 899 C.J 

of God's Judgments. 467 

them into the scale, we are unapt to make due seem. 
allowances, we are unable to discern which side — LVIIL 
doth overweigh : in the immense variety of objects 
our knowledge doth extend to few things eligible, 
nor among them can we pick out the best compe- 
titors for our choice * : hence often must we be at 
great losses in scanning the designs, or tracing the 
footsteps of Providence. 

3 We are also uncapable thoroughly to discern 
the ways of Providence from our moral defects, in 
some measure common to all men ; from our stu- 
pidity, our sloth, our temerity, our impatience, our 
impurity of heart, our perverseness of will and 
affections : we have not the perspicacity to espy the 
subtile tracks and secret reserves of divine wisdom ; 
we have not the industry, with steady application 
of mind, to regard and meditate on God's works ; 
we have not the temper and patience to wait upon 
God, until he discover himself in the accomplish- 
ment of his purposes ; we have not that blessed Matt. v. 8. 
purity of heart, which is requisite to the seeing God 
in his special dispensations ; we have not that rec- 
titude of will and government of our passions, as 
not to be scandalized at what God doeth, if it 
thwarteth our conceit or humour : such defects are 
observable in the best men; who therefore have 

* We value (according to our carnal prejudices) things 
at a high rate, which God doth little regard. Every 
temporal convenience or pleasure is in high estimation with 
us, but with God of no account : That which is highly Luke xvi. 
esteemed among men is abomination he/ore God. God no T5 ' 
more regards us, when we complain of a petty want or 
cross, than a wise parent doth mind his child, wailing for a 
trifle he lacketh, or feeleth. MS. 


468 The Unsearchableness 

serm. misapprehended, have disrelished, have fretted and 

Yj "\7*TTT A J. ' t 

murmured at the proceedings of God" : we might 

instance in Job, in David, in Elias, in Jonah, in 
the holy Apostles themselves, by whose speeches 
and deportments in some cases it may appear how 

* David was a good man, yet he was so dull, as not to 
apprehend why God should endure the wicked to prosper 
Ps. lxxiii. for some time ; So foolish (said he of himself) was I and 
3 ' 22 ' ignorant, I was as a beast before thee; he was so lazy as not 
lxxiii. 1 6. to hold out in studying the point ; for, When (said he) 
/ thought to know this, it was too painful for me ; he other- 
wise was so impatient, as from present crosses happening to 
xxxi. ii. him to conclude himself deserted by God, I said in my 
haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes; and oftentime we 
thence find him expostulating with God as forgetful or 
xiii. i. unmindful of him ; How long wilt thou forget me, Lord? 
for ever ? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me ? 

Job is the mirror of incomparable temper and patience ; 
Job ... yet, Did he, in contesting his case, darken counsel by words 

XXX vUl« 2 • ^^^ m TT 1 • T 1 

xxxv. 2 ; void of knowledge; so God charged him ; He did (as the 

XXX ^ V " 8 S . ; divine Elihu said) speak without knowledge, he opened his 

xiii. 3; mouth in vain, and his words were without wisdom; He did 

xxxiv. 35, mu i^iy wora i s against God, justifying himself rather than 

xxxy. 16; G d, ; fl e did u tter things too wonderful for him, which he 

XXX11 2 v v *r 

xlii. 3. knew not ; as himself, upon God's increpation and instruc- 
tion, did in the end confess. 

Jonas was a man of great piety and integrity ; yet when 

God did shew an act of mercy crossing his expectation and 

Jonah iv. humour, he was, (it is said) exceedingly displeased ; when 

God blasted a gourd, bereaving him of a sorry comfort or 

accommodation, he thought he did well to be angry. 

Elias was a man of admirable wisdom, no less than zeal 
1 Kings an( j courage; yet was he discouraged at the posture of 

XIX* 4; IO« . 1*1 * 

things, and in despair grew weary of his life. 

Even the great friend of God, and renowned pattern of 
faith, did sometime in his heart laugh at the promise made 
to him of a son to be given him in his decrepit old age. 

of God's Judgments. 469 

difficult it is for us, who have Eyes of flesh, as Job serm. 

speaketh, and hearts too never quite freed of car- '- 

nality, to see through, or fully to acquiesce in the Job x " 4 ' 
dealings of God. 

It is, indeed, a distemper incident to us, which 
we can hardly shun or cure, that we are apt to 
measure the equity and expedience of things accord- 
ing to our opinions and passions; affecting con- 
sequently to impose on God our silly imaginations, 
as rules of his proceeding, and to constitute him 
the executioner of our sorry passions: what we 
conceit fit to be done, that we take God bound to 
perform; when we feel ourselves stirred, then we 
presume God must be alike concerned: to our 
apprehensions every slight inconvenience is a huge 
calamity, every scratch of fortune is a ghastly 
wound; God therefore, we think, should have pre- 
vented it, or must presently remove it ; every pitiful 
bauble, every trivial accommodation is a matter of 
high consequence, which if God withhold, we are 
ready to clamour on him, and wail as children 
for want of a trifle. Are we soundly angry, or 
inflamed with zeal ? then fire must come down Luke ix. 
from heaven, then thunderbolts must fly about, 4 " 
then nothing but sudden woe and vengeance are 
denounced. Are we pleased % then showers of 

The Apostles were excellent persons, who had the good- Matt. xix. 
ness to forsake all and follow our Lord ; yet when our Lord J^ke 
discoursed to them of his passion, They did ('tis said) under- xviii- 34- . 
stand none of those things; when the event accordingly did 3I . 
fall out, they were all offended in him. 

So hard is it for us, who, as Job saith, have Eyes of Job x. 4 . 
flesh, and hearts too never quite free of carnality, to see 
through, or fully to be satisfied in the dealings of God. MS. 

470 The Unsearchableness 

XLVin t»l ess i n gs must descend on the heads, then floods 

of wealth must run into the laps of our favourites ; 

otherwise we are not satisfied, and scarce can deem 
God awake, or mindful of his charge. We do 
beyond measure hate or despise some persons, and 
to those God must not afford any favour, any 
mercy, any forbearance, or time of repentance ; we 
excessively admire or dote on others, and those 
God must not touch or cross ; if he doth not pro- 
ceed thus, he is in danger to forfeit his authority: 
he must hardly be allowed to govern the world, in 
case he will not square his administrations to our 
fond conceit or froward humour : hence no wonder 
that men often are stumbled about Providence; 
for God will not rule according to their fancy or 
pleasure, (it would be a mad world if he should,) 
neither, indeed, could he do so if he would, their 
j udgments and their desires being infinitely various, 
inconsistent, and repugnant. Again, 

4 The nature of those instruments which divine 
Providence doth use in administration of human 
affairs, hindereth us from discerning it: it is an 
observation among philosophers, that the footsteps 
of divine wisdom are, to exclusion of doubt, far 
more conspicuous in the works of nature, than in 
the management of our affairs ; so that some who 

c Nam cum dispositi qusesissem foedera mundi, 

Prsescriptosque mari fines : 

tunc omnia rebar 

Consilio firmata Dei 

Sed cum res hominum tanta caligine volvi 

Adspicerem ■ — 

rursus labefacta cadebat 

Religio, &c. Claud, in Ruff. i. [4 — 15.J 

])iod. Sic. Lib. xv. p. 482. [Ed. Steph. 1559.] [Uepl Se tcov 
avpnTaipdrcov pcyaXrjs ovarjs £rjTrjaea>s, ol p.€v (pvatKol TTftpavrai Tits 
airtas twv toiovtidv Tradwv owe eiy to Oelov dvaipepeiv, <iXX' tls (f>vai<as 

of God's Judgments. 471 

by contemplation of natural appearances were con- SERM - 

vinced of God's existence, and his protection of the - 

world, (who thence could not doubt but that an 
immense wisdom had erected the beautiful frame 
of heaven and earth, had ranged the stars in their 
order and courses, had formed the bodies and souls 
of animals, had provided for the subsistence and 
propagation of each species, had settled and doth 
uphold the visible world in its so comely and con- 
venient state, that even such men,) reflecting on 
the course of human transactions, have staggered 
into distrust, whether a divine wisdom doth sit at 
the helm of our affairs ; many thence hardly would 
admit God to be concerned in them, but supposed 
him to commit their conduct to a fatal swing, or a 
casual fluctuation of obvious causes: one great 
reason of this difference may be, that whereas the 
instruments of divine power in nature are in them- 
selves merely passive, or act only as they are acted 
by pure necessity, (as a pen in writing, or a 
hammer in striking,) being thence determinate, 
uniform, constant, and certain in their operation; 
whenever there any footsteps of counsel, any ten- 
dency to an end, and deviation from the common 
tracks of motion do appear, such effects cannot 
reasonably be imputed merely to natural causes, 
but to a superior wisdom, wielding them in such 
a manner, and steering them to such a mark : 
but the visible engines of Providence in our affairs 
are self-moving agents, working with knowledge 
and choice; the which, as in themselves they are 

Tivas Kal KaTrjvayKacriJievas 7re/nora<ms" ol 8' euere/3a)j SiaKeifievoi rrpos 
to 6t~iov, TTiBavas Tivas alrias dnobiBovo-i tov avpftavTos, <os 8ia 6ea)V 
[irjviv yeyevqfiivqs rrjs <rvfi(popas rots els to oeiov aaeprjaaai.j 

472 The Unsearchableness 

serm. indeterminate, irregular, and uncertain: so they 

XL VIII. it- • r> 

are capable to be diversified in numberless unac- 
countable ways, according to various representa- 
tions of objects, or by influence of divers principles 
inclining to judge and choose differently: temper, 
humour, passion, prejudice, custom, example, to- 
gether with contingencies of occasion, (depending 
on like principles in adjacent free causes,) do 
move, singly or combinedly, in ways so implicate, 
to the production of so various events, that nothing 
hardly can fall out, which may not with some 
plausible colour of reason be derived from some 
one of those sources, or from a complication of 
them: nothing can appear so uncouth or extrava- 
gant, which may not be fathered on some fetch of 
wit, or some hit of fancy, or some capricio of 
humour, or some transport of passion, or some 
lucky advantage, or on divers of those conspir- 
ing; whence in accounting for the reason of such 
events, men deem they may leave out Provi- 
dence as superfluous ; especially considering, that 
usually disorders and defects, only imputable to 
man's will, do accompany and further such events. 
Gen.xiv.5; p or instance, what other cause would many 
Ps. cv. think needful to assign for the conveyance of 
2 Sam ■ J° se P n m t° Egypt, than the envy of his brethren ; 
iojxxiv.i. for Shimei's reviling David, than his base malig- 
i Kings xii. nity; for David's numbering the people, than his 
"' H ' wanton pride ; for Jeroboam's revolt, than his 
Jobi. 15, unruly ambition; for Job's being robbed, than the 
thievish disposition of the Arabs; for his being 
Actsii. 23; diseased, than a redundance of bad humours; for 
our Lord's suffering, than the spiteful rage of the 
Jewish rulers and people ; together with the treach- 

of God's Judgments. 473 

erous avarice of Judas, and the corrupt easiness of serm. 
Pilate? These events all of them are ascribed to XLVIIL 
God's hand and special ordination; but men could 
not see or avow it in them : what need, will men 
ever say, in such cases to introduce God's aid, 
when human means suffice to achieve the feat? 

5 Indeed, as in nature the influences of heaven, 
and of inferior causes, so commonly in the produc- 
tion of these events, divine and human agency are 
so knit and twisted one with the other, that it is 
not easy to discriminate them, so as to sever the 
bounds of common and special Providence; or to 
discern what God performeth by natural instru- 
ments, what by superior efficacy; when the balance 
turneth from our inclinations, when it is cast from 
a grain thrown in by divine interposition ; the ma- 
nagement of these affairs being a concert, wherein 
God's wisdom beareth one part, man's free-will 
playeth another 11 ; fortune and occasion also do 
strike in; we, not seeing the first, are prone to 
ascribe all the harmony to the last, which are most 
obvious and visible. 

6 The more apt we are to do thus, because the 
manner of divine efficacy is ever very soft and 
gentle : God disposeth things fortiter et suaviter e ; 
so as effectually to perform what he designeth, but 
in the most sweet and easy way : his Providence 
doth not hurry along like an impetuous rumbling 
torrent, but glideth on as a smooth and still current, 
with an irresistible but imperceptible force carrying 

Qeos fiev iravra, Kai pera Oeov tux*], Kai Kaipos, rot avOpanriva 
Kvpcpvaxri to. ^vfiTravra. — Max. Tyr. Diss. in. e Plat. [Diss. xix. 
p. 229. Ed. Davis.] 

e "Eiiptoarois Kai xpr)<TTws. — Wisd. viii. 1. 

474 The Unsearchableness 

serii. things down therewith: without much ado, without 

"" " any clatter, by a nod of his head, by a whisper of 

his mouth, by a turn of his hand, he doth effect his 
purposes: winding up a close spring, he setteth 
the greatest wheels in motion ; and thrusting in an 
insensible spoke, he stoppeth the greatest wheels 
in their career; injecting a thought f , exciting an 
humour, presenting an occasion, insinuating a 
petty accident, he bringeth about the most notable 
Ps. xxxiii. events. He doth so fashion the hearts of men, 
isai.xii.i3; SO manage their hands, so guide their steps, that 
Prov. xvi. even they who are acted by him cannot feel the 
jer X x. 23. least touch upon them. For, The king's heart is 
1°; xxtii!' i n ^ ie hand of the Lord, as the rivers of waters ; he 
Prov xxi turnei h it wheresoever he will; that is, by secret 
'■ pipes, by obscure channels, God conveyeth the 

minds and wills of greatest persons (the chief 
engines of his Providence) unto such points of re- 
solution as he pleaseth, so that they seem to flow 
thither of their own accord, without any exterior 
direction or impulse: hence do his most effectual 
operations slip by us without making impression 
on our minds, which are wont to apprehend things, 
as with a gross palpability they do incur the senses, 
so that the Preacher, comparing the methods of 
Providence with the most occult proceedings in 
Eccies. xi. na ture, might well say, As thou knowest not the way 
of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb 
of her that is with child; so thou hnowest not the 
works of (rod, who maketh all. Again, 

7 God, in his progress toward the achievement 
of any design, is not wont to go in the most direct 

Qeov twos (cos i'oiKev) els vovv (fij3a\6vTos tco avdpcoTTco. — Plut. 
Timol. [Opp. Tom. 11. p. 174. Ed. R.-isk.] 

of God's Judgments. 475 

and compendious ways, but commonly windeth seem. 
about, and taketh a large compass, enfolding several XLVni - 
other co-incident purposes, some whereof may be no 
less considerable, than is that, which we deem most 
necessary, and affect to see dispatched: but this 
course seemeth tedious to us, who have not the wit 
to perceive that complexion of ends, nor the temper 
to wait for the completion of them. If God, when 
we seem to need, doth not instantly appear in our 
favour and succour ; if he doth not presently vindi- 
cate truth and right; if he doth not nip wicked 
designs in the bud, and repress the first onsets of 
outrageous violence; if for a while he suffereth The Job™. 6. 
tabernacles of robbers to prosper, and Iniquity to FaAxxy - 4 - 
lift up its horn; then he is in a slumber, quite 
unmindful or insensible of us; then he turneth 
aside his face, or doth behold what passeth as an 
unconcerned spectator; then he standeth aloof, 
unready to help us; then doth he hold off his 
hand, not meddling in our affairs: in such cases 
we are apt to cry out, Estis ubi Superi s ? How Ps - xm- 1 ; 
long, Lord, wilt thou forget; how long wilt thou xc/13; 
hide thy face? Lord, how long wilt thou look on? xUv^lV^, 
Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord ? why standest Jv ; . 
thou afar off? why withdrawest thou thy hand ? xxxv - r ?; 
pluck it out of thy bosom : Return, Lord, how xxxv. 23 ; 
long? Such are our prayers, such our expostula- lxxiv.'u; 
tions ; so is our blind impatience prone to muse and xc.V 3 ; 
mutter; not considering how many good designs ^j: 4 6 ; 
God is carrying on in a calm and steady pace, by lxxx - r f >" 
well measured steps, all which, in due season, when ix. 19; 

XXXVlll Q, " 

they are ripe for accomplishment, shall undoubtedly lxxi. 12. 
be effected; for, The Lord, as St Peter saith, isi. 1 ,,' 

* Sil. Ital. [vi. 87.] 

476 The Unsearchableness 

serm. n ot slack concerning his promise, as some men 

- ' count slackness ; but is longsuffering toward all 

i Pet. iii. men . that is, he certainly will express his faithful 
j'er. xxiii. benignity toward good men, yet so as also to ex- 
tend his merciful patience toward others; he so 
will tender the interests of some, as concurrently 
to procure the welfare of all, and accordingly will 
time his proceedings, allowing the leisure and 
opportunities requisite thereto : he can, although 
isai. xxx. we canno ^ wait to be gracious ; for as in him there 
are no passions to precipitate action, so to him 
g Pet- 1U- there are no sensible differences of time, One day 
being with the Lord as a thousand years, and a 
thousand years as one day. 

8 Again, God (as is the property of every wise 
agent) is wont to act variously, according to the 
state and circumstances of things, or to the disposi- 
tions and capacities of persons; so as to do the 
same thing for different ends, and different things 
for the same end; to apply one instrument to 
several uses, and by several instruments to work 
out one purpose: so he afflicteth good men out 
of love, for trial and improvement of their virtues ; 
bad men in displeasure, to illustrate his power and 
justice on them; he encourageth and blesseth the 
one, he punisheth and curseth the other with pro- 
sperity; he reclaimeth both from error and sin 
by either of those methods, as their temper and 
their circumstances do require. Whence it is very 
difficult for us ever from the kind of accidents 
befalling men, to divine how far God is con- 
cerned in them, or to what particular scope they 
are aimed ; so that well might the Preacher, upon 
a careful observation of such occurrences, establish 

of God's Judgments. 477 

this rule, No man Jcnoweth love or hatred (that is seem. 


the special regard of God toward men) by all that - 

is before them; because, all things come alike to all : Ecoles - ix - 
there is one event to the righteous and to the wicked. 

9 There are different ends which Providence in 
various order and measure doth pursue, which we, Hab. m. 6. 
by reason of our dim insight and short prospect, 
cannot descry : God, as the universal and perpetual 
Governor of the world, in his dispensation of things, 
respecteth not only the good of this or that person, 
of one nation or one age ; but often in some degree 
waving that, or taking care for it in a less remark- 
able way, hath a provident regard to the more ex- 
tensive good of a whole people, of the world, of 
posterity; as he did order his friend Abraham to 
wander in a strange land for the benefit of his seed; 
Joseph to be sold, calumniated, and fettered for 
the preservation of his family; our Lord to suffer 
those grievous things for the redemption of man- 
kind; the Jews to be rejected for the salvation of 
the Gentiles : in such cases purblind men, observing 
events to cross particular and present ends, but not 
being aware how conducible they may prove to 
general, remote, and more important designs, can 
hardly be satisfied how God should be concerned 
in them ; the present, or that which lieth adjacent 
just under our nose, is all that we can or will con- 
sider, and therefore must be ill judges of what is 
done by all-provident wisdom. 

io Again, God permitteth things, bad in then- 
own nature, with regard to their instrumental use 
and tendency; for that often the worst things may 
beordinable to the best ends; things very bitter 

478 The Unsearchableness 

seem, may work pleasant effects; upon the wildest stock 

' divine husbandry can ingraft most excellent fruit'"'; 

sin really, and suffering reputedly, are the worst 
evils, yet from them much glory to God and great 
benefit to men do accrue; even from the most 
wicked act that ever was committed, from the most 
lamentable event that ever did happen, fruits admi- 
rably glorious and immensely beneficial did spring ; 
yet usually so blind are we as to be offended at 
such things, and from them to raise exceptions 
against Providence. 

ii Also the expediency of things to be per- 
mitted or crossed doth frequently consist, not in 
themselves singly taken, as particular acts or 
events, but in their conjunction, or reference to 
others, with which they may become subservient 
toward a common end; so that divers things in 
themselves extremely bad may by combination or 
collision engender good effects; and thence prove 
fit weapons or tools of Providence; as the most 
deadly poisons may be so mixed, that curbing one 
another's force, they may constitute a harmless 
mass, sometimes a wholesome medicine: but we 

* As by disorderly fermentation liquors are clarified, as 
by shaking things are settled in a firmer state, as by hard 
rubbing the rust is worn off, and by blustering winds the 
air is cleansed ; so by violent, irregular, and calamitous 
events the public state of things is often mended ; by cruel 
wars, as by letting of blood, the commonwealth is freed of 
bad humours ; by the rise of heresies truth is more dis- 
cussed and illustrated; by persecution Religion is quickened 
and propagated ; by any kind of suffering men become wiser 
and better ; any evil, any mischief is improvable to good 
use, seeing from the most wicked act, and the most lament- 
able event that ever was, frr*. MS. 

of God's Judgments. 479 

poring on the simple ingredients, and not con- seem. 
sidering how they may be tempered, or how applied XLVIIL 
by a skilful hand, can hardly deem the toleration 
of them congruous to wisdom. Further, 

12 That Providence sometimes is obscure and 
intricate, may be attributed to the will of God, 
upon divers good accounts designing it to be such : 
Verily, saith the Prophet, thou art a God that 1 ^-^- 
hidest thyself, God of Israel, the Saviour. Ps'.ixxxix. 

God commonly doth not intend to exert his 4<5 ' 
hand notoriously; for that whereas every special 
interposition of his hand is in effect a miracle, (sur- 
mounting the natural power, or thwarting the ordi- 
nary course of inferior causes,) it doth not become 
him to prostitute his miraculous power, or to exert 
it otherwise than upon singular occasions, and for 
most weighty causes: it is not conformable to 
the tenor of his administrations to convince men 
against their will, or by irresistible evidence to 
wring persuasion from stubborn or stupid minds; 
but to exercise the wisdom, and to prove the inge- 
nuity of well disposed persons, who upon competent 
intimations shall be capable to spell out, and for- 
ward to approve his proceedings. 

13 He will not glare forth in discoveries so 
bright as to dazzle, to confound our weak sight; 
therefore he veileth his face with a cloud, and 
wrappeth his power in some obscurity; therefore, 
Clouds and darkness are round about him: iJeHab.m. 4 - 
maketh darkness his secret place ; his pavilion round 
about him is dark waters and thick clouds of the 

14 He meaneth thereby to improve and exalt 
our faith, being the less seen, that he may be the 

2 ; 

xviii. 1 1 

480 The Unsearchableness 

serm. more believed; faith never rising higher than when 
XLVIIL it doth soar to objects beyond our sight; when we 
can approve God's wisdom and justice in occur- 
rences surmounting our conceit ; when we can rely 
upon God's word and help, although the stream of 
his proceedings seemeth to cross our hopes. 

15 It is fit also, that God many times designedly 
should act in ways surpassing our apprehension, 
and apt to baffle or puzzle our reason, that he may 
appear God indeed, infinitely transcending us in 
perfection of wisdom and justice; or that we, com- 
prehending the reason of his actings, may not 
imagine our wisdom comparable, our justice com- 
mensurate to his ; yea, that we in those respects do 
exceed him; for, That, as Tertullian discourseth, 
which may be seen, is less than the eyes that survey 
it; that which may be comprehended, is less than the 
hands that grasp it; thai which may be valued, is 
less than the senses which rate it h . It is God's being 
inestimable that makes him worthily esteemed 1 ; 
his being incomprehensible rendereth him adorable. 

16 The obscurity of Providence doth, indeed, 
conciliate an awful reverence toward it; for dark- 
ness naturally raiseth a dread of invisible powers; 
we use to go on tremblingly, when we cannot see 
far about us; we regard none so much as those, 
whose wisdom we find to overreach ours, and 
whose intentions we cannot sound : it was Elihu's 

jobxxxvii. observation, With God is terrible majesty; the 

h Quod videri communiter, quod comprehendi, quod sestimari 
potest, minus est et oculis quibus occupatur, et manibus quibus 
contaminatur, et sensibus quibus invenitur. — Tertul. Apol. cap. 
xvii. [Opp. p. 16 D.] 

1 Hoc est quod Deum cestimari facit, dum sestimari non capit. 
— d. ibid. 

of God's Judgments. 481 

Almighty, we cannot find him out; — men do there- serm. 
fore fear him. xlviii. 

17 It is also requisite, that God should dispose 
many occurrences, cross to our vulgar notions, and 
offensive to our carnal sense, that we may thence 
be prompted to think of God, driven to seek him, 
engaged to mark him interposing in our affairs: 
men from disorderly and surprising accidents pre- 
posterously do conceive doubts about Providence, 
as if, it managing things, nothing odd or amiss 
would occur ; whereas if no such events did start 
up, they might be proner to question it, they would 
at least come to forget or neglect it ; for if human 
transactions passed on as do the motions of nature, 
in a smooth course, without any rub or disturbance, 
men commonly would no more think of God than 
they do when they behold the sun rising, the rivers 
running, the sea flowing; they would not depend 
on his protection, or have recourse to him for 
succour • it is difficulty and distress seizing on them 
which compel men to implore God for relief, which 
dispose them to see his hand reaching it forth unto 
them; according to that in the Psalm; When he Ps. lxxvm. 
slew them, then they sought him: they returned and 
inquired early after God: they remembered that 

God was their rock, and the most high God their 
Redeemer. Again, 

18 It is needful that the present course of 
Providence should not be transparently clear and 
satisfactory, that we may be well assured concern- 
ing a future account, and forced in our thoughts to 
recur thither for a resolution of all such emergent 
doubts and difficulties: for if all accounts were 
apparently stated and discharged here ; if now right 

b. s. vol. iit. 31 

482 The Unsearchableness 

serm. did ever prevail, and iniquity were suppressed; if 

virtue were duly crowned, and vice deservedly 

scourged, who would hope or fear an after-reckoning? 
This, indeed, is the grand cause why Providence 
now doth appear so cloudy, that men consider not 
how our affairs have no complete determination, or 
final issue here; things now are doing, and not 
done ; in a progress and tendency toward somewhat 
beyond, not in a state of consistence and perfec- 
tion ; this not being the place of deciding causes or 
dispensing rewards; but a state of probation, of 
work, of travail, of combat, of running for the 
prize, of sowing toward the harvest; a state of 
liberty to, follow our own choice, and to lay the 
ground of our doom; of falling into sin, and of 
rising thence by repentance; of God's exercising 
patience, and exhibiting mercy: wherefore as we 
cannot well judge of an artificial work by its first 
draughts, or of a poem by a few scenes, but must 
stay till all be finished or acted through 15 ; so we 
cannot here clearly discern the entire congruity of 
providential dispensations to the divine attributes; 
the catastrophe or utmost resolution of things is 
the General Judgment, wherein the deep wisdom, 
Rom. ii. 7. the exact justice, the perfect goodness of God will 
be displayed to the full satisfaction or conviction of 
all men; when God's honour will be thoroughly 
vindicated, his despised patience and his abused 
grace will be avenged ; every case will be rightly 
tried, every work will be j ustly recompensed, all ac- 
counts will be set straight ; in the mean time divers 
things must occur unaccountable to us, looking 
upon things as they now stand absolutely before 

k Vi<l. Chrys. Opp. Tom. vu. p. ir>. 

of God's Judgments. 483 

us, without reference to that day : considering this seem. 
may induce us to suspend our opinion about such 

matters, allowing God to go through with his 
work before we censure it, not being so quick and 
precipitate as to forestall his judgment : and surely, 
would we but observe that reasonable advice of St 
Paul, Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord iCor.iv. 5. 
come, our chief doubts would be resolved, our 
shrewdest exceptions against Providence would be 
voided * 

* In fine, whereas there can hardly be general rules 
framed for distinguishing the by-ways of special Providence 
from the great roads of common Providence, termed nature 
and fortune, which will not admit cases and exceptions ; which 
exceptions men commonly are not perspicacious or skilful 
enough to observe, or to apply seasonably ; and often by ill 
prejudices and affections are indisposed to do it ; therefore, 
frequently they cannot discern the ways of Providence, or 
pass right judgment upon them. 

Such are the reasons and causes, wherefore the Provi- 
dence of God is so inscrutable, and untraceable to us, drawn 
from the nature of God's instruments and the manner of his 
working, the impotency of our faculties, the meanness of our 
state, the defect of our wills, the nature of God, his will and 
purposes, with the expediency of things, and the like sources. 

I shall only add by way of corollary, that hence we may 
find a satisfactory resolution of the main enquiries about 
Providence, which have perplexed men, and raised in them 
offence against it; for although of the divine proceedings in 
them questioned, we may render some fair and plausible 
account; and so to endeavour the vindication of them may 
be commendable ; yet in the end, it is most safe to shroud 
ourselves under this impregnable defence ; and after St 
Paul to silence both our adversaries and ourselves with an, 
<» /3a<9os, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom #wc?R m.xi.33. 
knowledge of God. 


484 TJie Unsearchableness 

serm. These are the chief reasons of the point which 
meditation did suggest ; upon it (for it is not a 

For instance : it hath been one great offence, that there 
is in nature such a thing as sin, heinous and outrageous 
sin, working so much disorder and havoc in the world, 
breeding so great mischief and pain to mankind ; if (argued 
Ootta in Cicero) there were Providence, it would have given 
to men such a reason, as would have excluded vices and 
faults; it would not have given any reason to those, who it 
did know would use it perversely or naughtily l ; to which 
point we may answer, that the objectors did not well con- 
sider, how necessary sin is, or how convenient and useful to 
the best purposes. It is, (we may say) as fit there should 
be sin, as that there should be man ; a creature endued with 
degrees of reason and freedom, conformed with sense and 
appetite ; exempted from fate and fortune ; capable of praise 
and reward, subject to rule and law ; as that there should 
be virtue, consisting in a rational assent, and voluntary con- 
formity to the dictates of reason and precepts of God ; as 
that there should be an intercourse of government and 
judgment between God and man. 

It was needful for the due illustration of all God's holy 
attributes ; that is, for the principal end why things should be 
created or subsist; for if there were no grievous offences 
committed, how could it appear how holy God is in detesting 
them, how just in promoting them, how patient in bearing 
them, how merciful in pardoning them, how powerful in 
restraining them, and reclaiming from them, how wise in 
ordering them to good ends ? 

It was requisite to be, that it might exercise our faculties 
in knowing it, in loathing and slighting it, in declining and 
shunning it as a most dangerous rock ; that as a foil it might 
set off the beauty and lustre of goodness; that by observing 
its ugly nature and sad consequences we might understand 
more clearly, more heartily love, more readily and willingly 
embrace virtue. 

1 Cic de Nat. Deor. in. 31. 

of God's Judgments. 485 

point merely speculative, but pregnant with useful serm. 
consequences) divers practical applications may be- '- 

It was needful there should be sin, that there might be 
suffering, which is a necessary means of producing wisdom 
and virtue ; that is, of improving and advancing human 

It was in fine needful that it should be, that there might 
be such a world as this, a theatre of various accidents, 
serving to entertain wise spectators with wholesome instruc- 
tion and delight ; in the which sin beareth a great part, and 
ministereth chief occasion to them. For such purposes and Matt.xviii. 
the like it was (as our Saviour saith) necessary that scandals Lukexvii. 

Sh0uldbe - . . 1'Cor.xi. 

Such considerations we may allege to appease dissatis- 19. 
faction ; but to suppress it, we must add, that God knoweth 
better reasons for it, locked up in the closets of his un- 
searchable wisdom. 

Again, it is very offensive to the sense of men, and 
raiseth their stomach against Providence, that bad men 
(very cruel oppressors, very unjust, luxurious, and impious 
persons) are suffered to live, to prosper, and to thrive ; 
whereas innocent, virtuous, and pious men commonly do 
undergo grievous affliction and trouble. To those who are 
thus scandalized, we might say much in favour and defence 
of these dispensations, declaring how needful and convenient 

they are ; for 

If bad men were presently dealt with according to their 
deserts, there would no bad man subsist, it being, as the 
Prophet saith, of the Lord's mercy, that they are not con- Lam.iiu 
sumed; and consequently so proper objects of divine clemency, 
severity, and power, so useful instruments of his Providence 
would be wanting ; the like would happen, if they were 
continually thwarted and vexed ; for then divine mercy could 
not be so declared in bearing them, in indulging benefits to 
them, in reclaiming them, in waiting for their conversion ; 
then could not divine justice be so displayed in curbing their 

486 The Unsearchableness 

serm. grounded, which the time scarcely will allow me 
xlviii. , 
to name. 

outrage, in repressing their insolence, in chastising their in- 
corrigible wickedness. 

We might say, that there is no incongruity to endure 
wicked men, while they are corrigible, while they are tolerable, 
while they are serviceable ; and that in effect they no further 
are endured. 

That there are such punishments naturally, and in the 
usual course of Providence, annexed to wickedness, which 
may hinder their state, in just esteem, ever to be accounted 
prosperous 111 . 

That impunity itself is a grievous punishment to them, 
whereby they accumulate guilt, and treasure up wrath to 
themselves, to be executed in due time, after the season of 
trial and patience. 

And as to the afflictions of good men, we might answer 
that, if good men were not afflicted, there would scarce be 
any good men, the chief virtues would be wanting, sufferings 
being necessary instruments of rendering men good, and 
occasions of expressing goodness : there would be no patience 
without crosses to be endured, no contentedness without 
wants to be felt, no fortitude without hazards to be encoun- 
tered, no industry without pains to be taken, no humility 
without infirmities to be reflected on, no charity without 
needs to be relieved, and injuries to be forgiven ; no devotion 
without a sense of wants to kindle desire ; no prudence 
without experience of various fortunes, bad as well as good ; 
no great instances of obedience, or clear testimonies of faith 
in God, or love and reverence to him, without troubles and 
persecutions to be willingly undertaken, or contentedly un- 
dergone for God's sake. Neither could there be any so 
considerable ground, or title to reward; take away their 
combats ; and their praises cease, their crowns do fade 
away. Nor could divine Providence be exercised and glori- 
fied in the support, relief, and comfort of good men, were 

OOSfv a^piou €<tti noiovvra abiKa. Epict. Diss. 111. 2<1. 




of God's Judgments. 487 

i It should render us modest and sober in our seem. 
judgment about providential occurrences, not pre- XLVIIL 
tending thoroughly to know the reasons of God's Ecciua. 
proceedings, or to define the consequences of them; pV. 
for it is plainly fond arrogance, or profane impos- 
ture, to assume perfect skill in that which passeth 
our capacity to learn. 

2 It should make us staunch and cautious of Lukexiii. 
grounding judgment or censure upon present events *' 
about any cause, or any person; for it is notorious 
temerity to pass sentence upon grounds uncapable 

of evidence. 

3 It should repress wanton curiosity, which Job xi. . n. 
may transport us beyond our bounds in speculation i 3 ! s ' 1X ' 
of these mysterious intrigues; so that we shall lose Jobxln - 3- 
our labour and time, shall discompose our minds, 

shall plunge ourselves into vain errors or anxious 

4 It should keep us from conceitedness and Job xi. 4; 

x # xlii. 2. 

confidence in our own wisdom ; for how can we Ps. lxxm. 

they exempted from suffering ; the which is therefore never 
very sad, because attended with those alleviations. 

Such accounts we may render, proper enough to justify 
God's proceedings, yet not sufficient to quell all cavillations ; 
without recourse to God's transcendent wisdom. 

Another grand exception against Providence is, that God 
should suffer so many nations to continue in barbarous igno- 
rance, and consequently in brutish practice of vice, with- 
holding those means of light and grace, which are needful to 
convert them; of this we might also assign divers reasons; 
we might propound considerations, in some measure apt to 
clear the justice and wisdom of God in that dispensation ; 
but so that the last resort must be to this o-o(f>6v cpipnaicov, 
we must rest firm upon this holy anchor of God's inscrutable 
wisdom. MS. 

22; xxxix. 

488 The Unsearchableness 

serm. conceit highly of that, or much confide in it, which 

-y-T "yTTT O 1/ 

1 we find so unable to penetrate the reason of most 

common and obvious appearances ; so non-plust in 
its inquiries, so defeated in its expectations, so mis- 
taken in its judgments of things? 

5 It should preserve us from infidelity, and 
from despair upon account of any cross accidents 
occurring here ; for it is unreasonable to disbelieve 
a notion, otherwise well grounded, because we 
cannot assoil scruples or cavils drawn from matters 
inscrutable to us ; it is foolish to despair of a good 
event upon appearances, whereof we cannot appre- 
hend the full reason or final result. 

6 It should prevent our taking offence, or 
i Kmgs being discontented at any events rising up before 

xx. g. ° J ox 

Matt. xvi. us • for to be displeased at that, which a superior 
wisdom, unsearchable to us, doth order, is to be 
displeased at we know not what, or why, which is 
childish weakness ;- to fret and wail at that, which, 
for all we can see, proceedeth from good intention, 
and tendeth to good issue, is pitiful frowardness. 

7 It should guard us from security, or from 
Eccies.viii. presuming upon impunity for our miscarriages ; for 

seeing God doth not always clearly and fully dis- 
cover his mind, it is vain from God's reservedness 
to conclude his unconcernedness ; or because he is 
now patient, that he never will be just in chastising 
our offences. 

8 It should quicken our industry in observing 
and considering the works of Providence ; for since 
they are not easily discernible, and the discerning 

uf v^itl tliem in some measure is sometimes of great use, it 
is needful that we be very diligent in contemplation 
of them ; the fainter our light is, the more attent 

of God's Judgments. 489 

we should be in looking; the knottier the subject, serm. 
the more earnest should be our study on it. 

9 It should oblige us to be circumspect and 
wary in our conversation; for the darker the way 
is, the more careful should be our walking therein, 
lest we err, lest we stumble, lest we strike on some- 
what hurtful to us. 

10 It should engage us constantly to seek God, Jer. x. 23. 
and to depend on him, for the protection and con- 
duct of his grace, which is the only clue that can 

lead us safely through this intricate labyrinth of 
worldly contingencies. 

11 In fine, it should cause us humbly to admire Ps. xxxvi. 
and adore that wisdom, which governeth the world 

in ways no less great and wonderful, than just and 

holy : for, Great and marvellous are thy works, Rev : xv - 
. 3; xix - 2 * 

Lord God Almighty ; just and true are thy ways, 

thou King of saints. 

Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, iTim.i.17. 

the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and 

ever. Amen. 



Psalm CXLV 9. 

The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over 
all his works. 

serm. FT! HE goodness of God is a frequented theme; to 

- J- many perhaps it may seem vulgar and trite ; so 

that discourse thereon, like a story often told, may 
be nauseous to their ears : but in truth neither can 
we speak too much upon this most excellent sub- 
ject, nor ought we ever to be weary in hearing 
about it; for it is a sign that the palate of our 
mind is distempered, if we do not with delight and 
affection relish any mention of divine goodness. 
Yea, the observation of men's common practice 
would induce us to think, that either this point is 
not so well known, or but little believed, or at least 
not well considered and applied. For how could 
we be so void of love to God, of gratitude toward 
him, of faith and hope in him, were we thoroughly 
persuaded, did we seriously consider, that he is so 
exceedingly good toward us ? How can we be so 
insensible of the benefits we enjoy, so distrustful of 
finding succours and supplies in our need, so dissa- 
tisfied and discontented with what befalls us, if we 
conceive and weigh, that all things do proceed 

Of the Goodness of God. 491 

from, are guided and governed by immense good- serm. 
ness? How also, if men have such an opinion of XLIX ' 
God impressed on their minds, comes it to pass, 
that they are so little careful to resemble and 
imitate him in kindness, bounty, and mercy to one 
another? How is it, in fine, that the most power- 
ful argument to all manner of good practice, and 
the mightiest aggravation of sin, if well known and 
pondered, hath so little force and efficacy upon us? 
From experience therefore this argument may seem 
scarce sufficiently inculcated. We may add, that 
discourse upon this attribute (which above all other 
attributes doth render God peculiarly admirable 
and amiable a ) hath this special advantage beyond 
other discourses, that it doth, if our hearts conspire 
therewith, approach most nearly to the formal ex- 
ercise of the most high and heavenly parts of 
devotion, praise and thanksgiving; that it more 
immediately conduces to the breeding, the nourish- 
ing, the augmenting in us the best and noblest of 
pious affections, love and reverence to God; trust 
and hope in him ; willing resolutions to please and 
serve him ; whence it is consequent, that we cannot 
too much employ our thoughts, our words, or our 
attention upon this point. Besides so much reason, 
we have also good example to countenance us in 
so doing: we have the precedent of the holy 
Psalmist resolving to make it his constant and con- 
tinual employment : / will sing, saith he, of the Ps. lxxxix. 
mercies of the Lord; with my mouth will I make 
known thy faithfulness to all generations. And, 

©eos' ov ttoW&v ovtcov, £<fi' ois 6av /xd^eTat, oiSee ovtcos, as to 
iravras evepyerav, iStcorardV. — Grieg. Naz. [Orat. XXXII. Opp. Tom. I. 
p. 596 E.] 

serm. Every day will I bless thee, and I will praise thy 

492 Of the Goodness of God. 

very day will I bless thee, and I wil 

name for ever and ever; (that blessing and praising 

2 ; ' ' God, the context shews to have consisted especially 
in the declaration of God's great goodness :) and, 
xcii. 1, 1. It is a good thing, saith he again, to give thanks 
unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, 
thou most High: to shew forth thy loving-kindness in 
the morning, and thy faithfulness every night. Such 
were his intentions, and such his judgment about 
this practice; and we find him in effect true and 
answerable to them; every song of his, every me- 
ditation, every exercise of devotion chiefly harping 
upon this string; and he earnestly wishes that 
others would consent and consort with him therein ; 
cvii. 8; he earnestly exhorts and excites them thereto ; O 
that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, 
and for his wonderful works to the children of men ! 
Praise the Lord, give thanks unto the Lord; for 
he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever. That 
one example might sufficiently authorize this 
practice; but we have innumerable others, and 
those the highest that can be, to encourage and 
engage us thereto ; even the whole choir of heaven, 
whose perpetual business and happy entertainment 
it is to contemplate with their minds, to celebrate 
with their voices, the immense goodness of God; 
Rev. iv. 8. They have, as it is in the Revelation, no rest day or 
night, from performing this office. Such is the sub- 
ject of our discourse; the which our text most 
plainly and fully expresses; asserting not only the 
goodness of God, but the universal and boundless 
extent thereof; The Lord is good to all, and his 
tender mercies (or his bowels of affection and pity) 
are over all his works. And that God, indeed, is 

Of the Goodness of God. 493 

such, we shall first endeavour to declare, then shall serm. 

briefly apply the consideration thereof to practice. _L 

That God the Lord, and Maker of all things, is 
of himself, in regard to all his creatures, especially 
to us men, superlatively good, that is, disposed 
never without just or necessary cause to harm us, 
and inclinable to do us all possible and befitting 
good, the universal frame of Nature and the con- 
stant course of Providence do afford us sufficient 
reason to conceive, and most frequent, most express 
testimonies of Holy Scripture do more fully demon- 
strate. There is no argument from natural effects 
discernible by us, which proveth God's existence, 
(and innumerable such there are, every sort of 
things well studied may afford some,) the which 
doth not together persuade God to be very kind 
and benign; careful to impart to us all befitting 
good, suitable to our natural capacity and condition ; 
and unwilling that any considerable harm, any ex- 
treme want or pain should befall us. (I interpose 
such limitations, for that an absolute, or universal 
and perpetual exemption from all kinds or all de- 
grees of inconvenience, an accumulation of all sorts 
of appearing good upon us, doth not become or suit 
our natural state of being, or our rank in perfection 
among creatures; neither, all things being duly 
stated and computed, will it turn to best account 
for us.) The best (no less convincing than obvi- 
ous) arguments, asserting the existence of a Deity, 
are deduced from the manifold and manifest 
footsteps of admirable wisdom, skill, and design 
apparent in the general order, and in the parti- 
cular frame of creatures; the beautiful harmony 
of the whole, and the artificial contrivance of 

494 Of the Goodness of God. 

serm. each part of the world; the which it is hardly pos- 

-'_ sible that any unprejudiced and undistempered 

mind should conceive to proceed from blind chance, 
or as blind necessity. But with this wisdom are 
always complicated no less evident marks of 
goodness. We cannot in all that vast bulk of the 
creation, and numberless variety of things, discover 
any piece of mere pomp, or dry curiosity; every 
thing seems to have some beneficial tendency; ac- 
cording to which it confers somewhat to the need, 
convenience, or comfort of those principal creatures, 
which are endued with sense and capacity to enjoy 
them. Most of them have a palpable relation to the 
benefit (to the subsistence or delight) of living crea- 
tures ; and especially, in an ultimate relation, to the 
benefit of man ; and the rest, although their imme- 
diate use be not to our dim sight so discernible, may 
therefore be reasonably presumed in their natural 
designation to regard the same end. Wherefore, as 
upon consideration of that ample provision, which is 
made in nature for the necessary sustenance, de- 
fence, and relief, for the convenience, delight, and 
satisfaction of every creature, any man, who is not 
careless or stupid, may be induced to cry out with 
Ps. civ. 24. the Psalmist, O Lord, how manifold are thy works! 
in wisdom hast thou made them all: so may he, with 
no less reason and ground, after him pronounce and 
xxxiii. 5 ; acknowledge; The earth is full of the goodness of 
Mi!" 10;' the Lord: The earth, Lord, is full of thy mercy: 
ch-"'io, ; &c; ^% m & r cy is great unto the heavens : Thy mercy is 
lxv - ll '< great above the heavens. It is, indeed, because divine 

cm. 4. " ' ' 

goodness is freely diffusive and communicative of 
itself; because essential love is active and fruitful 
in beneficence, because highest excellency is void of 

Of the Goodness of God. 495 

all envy, selfishness, and tenacity, that the world seem. 
was produced such as it was ; those perfections being XLIX - 
intrinsical to God's nature, disposed him to bestow 
so much of being, of beauty, of pleasure upon his 
creatures : He openeth his hand, they are filed with Pb. civ. 28 
good: it is from God's open hand, his unconfined 
bounty and liberality, that all creatures do receive 
all that good which fills them, which satisfies their 
needs, and satiates their desires. Every pleasant 
object we view, every sweet and savoury morsel we 
taste, every fragrancy we smell, every harmony we 
hear ; the wholesome, the cheering, the useful, yea, 
the innocent and inoffensive qualities of every thing 
we do use and enjoy, are so many perspicuous argu- 
ments of divine goodness ; we may not only by our 
reason collect it, but we even touch and feel it with 
all our senses. 

The like conclusion may be inferred from the 
observation of divine Providence. Every significa- 
tion or experiment, whence we may reasonably infer 
that divine power and wisdom do concur in up- 
holding, managing, and directing the general state 
of things, or the particular affairs of men, being well 
examined and weighed, would afford reason apt to 
persuade, that the Governor of the world is graci- 
ously affected toward his creatures and subjects. 
The general preservation of things in their natural 
constitution and order; the dispensing constant 
vicissitudes of season, so as may serve for the 
supply of our needs ; the maintaining such a course 
of things in the world, that, notwithstanding the 
great irregularity of will, and violence of passion 
in so many persons, yet men do ordinarily shift 
so as to live tolerably upon earth in peace and 

496 Of the Goodness of God. 

serm. safety, and enjoyment of competent accommoda- 

--'- tions for life, with the aids and consolations arising 

from mutual society, the supports, encouragements, 
and rewards of virtue many times in a strange 
manner administered ; the restraints, disappoint- 
ments, and seasonable chastisements of wickedness, 
especially when it grows exorbitant and outrageous, 
unexpectedly intervening, with the like passages of 
p s . xxviii. Providence, will, to him that shall regard the works 
isai.v. 12. of the Lord, and the operation of his hands, suf- 
ficiently declare as the other glorious attributes, 
(wisdom, power, and justice,) so especially the good- 
ness of him who presides over the world ; assuring 
that he is a friend to the welfare, and dislikes the 
misery of mankind. He that shall well observe 
and consider, how among so many fierce and hard- 
hearted, so many crafty and spiteful, so many domi- 
neering and devouring spirits, the poor and weak, 
the simple and harmless sort of people do however 
subsist, and enjoy somewhat, cannot but suspect 
that an undiscernible hand, full of pity and bounty, 
doth often convey the necessary supports of life to 
them, doth often divert imminent mischiefs from 
them ; cannot but acknowledge it credible what the 
Holy Scripture teacheth, that God is the friend, and 
Ps. xiv. 6 ; patron, and protector of those needy and helpless 
lxxii. '12; people, redeeming their soul from deceit and vio- 
lence, as the Psalmist speaks; that he is, as the 
isai.xxv.4. Prophet expresseth it, A strength to the 'poor, a 
strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from 
the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of 
the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. 
He that shall remark, how frequently, in an unac- 
countable way, succour and relief do spring up to 

Of the Goodness of God. 497 

just and innocent persons; so that in a whole age, seem. 
as the Psalmist observed, such persons do not XLIX - 
appear destitute or forsaken ; how also iniquity is Ps. xxxvii. 
commonly stopped in its full career, and then easily 2S ' 
receives a check, when its violence seemed uncon- 
trollable; how likewise many times the world is 
rescued from confusions and distractions unextri- 
cable by any visible wit or force ; with other like 
occurrences in human affairs; must admit it for a 
reasonable hypothesis (fit to render a cause of such 
appearances) that a transcendent goodness doth se- 
cretly interpose, furthering the production of such 
effects : he must upon such observation be ready to 
verify that of the Psalmist: Verily there is a re-iviii. n. 
ward for the righteous; verily there is a God that 
judgeth the earth. St Paul instructs us, that in 
past times (that is, in all generations from the be- 
ginning of things) God did attest himself to be the Acts xiv. 
Governor of the world : How % dyaOcnroiwv, by his l7 ' 
beneficence ; Giving to men showers from heaven, and 
fruitful seasons, filing their hearts with food and 
gladness: competent evidences, it seems, these were 
of his providence, and withal (supposing that) cer- 
tain demonstrations of his goodness : although some 
have abused this kind of testimony, or argumenta- 
tion, so valid in itself, unto a contrary purpose; 
alleging, that if God ruled the world, so much 
wickedness and impiety would not be tolerated 
therein ; that ingrateful and evil men could not so 
thrive and flourish; that more speedy and more 
severe vengeance would be executed ; that benefits 
would not be scattered among the crowd of men, 
with so promiscuous and undistinguishing a free- 
ness. But such discourses, upon a just and true 
b. s. vol. in. 32 

498 Of the Goodness of God. 

seem, account, do only infer the great patience and 
L- clemency, the unconfined mercy and bounty of our 

Lord; that he is in disposition very different from 
pettish and impatient man, who, should he have 
the reins put into his hands, and in his administra- 
tion of things should be so often neglected, crossed, 
abused, would soon overturn all things ; and, being 
himself discomposed with passion, would precipitate 
the world into confusion and ruin. 

Things would not have subsisted hitherto, and 
continued in their orderly course, but by the mode- 
ration of an immense goodness; by that 
Magni custos dementia mundi b . 

Lam. Hi. It is By the Lord's mercies that we (we, the whole 
body of sinful men, so guilty of heinous provoca- 
tions and rebellions against our Maker) are not 

Hos. xi. 8. consumed. And what again God in the Prophet 
speaks concerning Israel, he might have applied to 
the whole nation of men : How shall I give thee up, 
Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how 
shall I make thee as Admahf how shall I set thee 
as Zeboimf I will not execute the fierceness of my 
anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim ; for 
I am God, and not man : the reason (for I am 
God, and not man) is observable; implying (upon 
parity of reason in the cases, concerning that one 
nation, and concerning the body of men) that it is 
an indulgence and forbearance above, if not con- 
trary to the temper of man, and even beyond human 
conceit, whereby the state of things here doth sub- 
sist, and is preserved from ruin. 

Thus Nature and thus Providence do bear wit- 
ness concerning the disposition of God. As for 

b Claudian. [Dc Laud. Stilich. n. 6. J 

Of the Goodness of God. 499 

Scripture, there is nothing either in way of positive seem. 

assertion more frequently inculcated, or by more— L 

illustrious examples set forth, and made palpable, 
than this attribute of God. When God would 
impart a portraiture or description of himself to 
his dearest friend and favourite, Moses; the first 
and chief lineaments thereof are several sorts, or 
several instances of goodness ; he expresses himself 
Merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant Exod. 
in goodness: (Merciful: El rachum ) a God of pity- XXX1V ' 6 ' 
ing, or strong in pity; that is, most apt to com- 
miserate and to succour those who are in need or 
distress. Gracious, that is, ready both freely to 
forgive wrongs, and to dispense favours. Long- 
suffering, or longus irarum, that is, not soon moved, 
or apt easily to conceive displeasure; not hasty in 
execution of vengeance, or venting his anger in 
hurtful effects. Abundant in goodness, that is, not 
sparing as to quantity or quality, either in the 
multitude or magnitude of his favours, but in all 
respects exceedingly liberal; conferring willingly 
both very many and very great benefits. Such did 
God represent himself to Moses, when he desired 
a fuller knowledge and nearer acquaintance with 
him, than ordinary means afford. The same cha- p s . ixxxvi. 
racter in substance we have often repeated, and ^ cm- 8 ' 
sometimes with advantage of emphatical expression, 
well deserving our observation and regard ; as when 
the prophet Joel saith, that God is penitent, or Joelii . j 3 . 
sorry, for evil inflicted; and Micah, that He de-f™ h ™' 
lighteth in mercy; and when Nehemiah .ealleth him Neh. ix. 
a God of pardons; and when Isaiah represents him 
as Waiting (or seeking occasions) to be gracious: isai. xxx. 


500 Of the Goodness of God. 

serm. and all this in the Old Testament, where God 
XLIX - seems to look upon man with a less serene and 
debonair aspect. Indeed, as that dispensation (suit- 
ably to the nature and condition of things under 
it) doth set out God's mercy and goodness, with 
especial relation to this present world, or temporal 
estate; so the new one more abundantly displays 
his more excellent care and love of our souls; his 
great tenderness of our spiritual and eternal wel- 
fare. It is all of it in its nature and design but as 
it were one entire declaration of the To ^p^a-roc rod 

Eom. ii. 4. Qeov, (The beneficial disposition, the benignity, or 
bountifulness of God, as St Paul telleth us;) it is 
a rare project of divine philanthropy ; an illustrious 
affidavit of God's wonderful propensity to bless and 
save mankind ; manifested by the highest expres- 
sions and instances of love and goodness that were 

Bom. viii. possible. (For his not sparing his own Son, The 

Heb. i. 3. express image of his substance, the dearest object 
of his infinite love, the partaker of his eternal nature 
and glory, but delivering him up a sacrifice for our 
offences ; his most earnest wooing our baseness and 
un worthiness to reconciliation with him, and admis- 
sion or acceptance of his favour ; his tendering upon 
so fair and easy terms an endless life in perfect joy 
and bliss; his furnishing us with so plentiful means 
and powerful aids for attaining that happy state — 

Rom.v.21. now pregnant demonstrations are these, of unspeak- 
able goodness toward us! whence) The ordinary 

ii : \. 3!" titles in this dispensation attributed unto him, are, 

i^i-ct. v. jij ie q Q( j j i Qve an( i p eac6} qffiop^ of patience ; of 

James' v 4 ' all grace, of all consolation; the father of pities, 

1 John iv r ^' ^ n merc y> f u ^ °f bowels; love and goodness 
s. itself. Thus doth the Scripture positively assert 

Of the Goodness of God. 501 

God's goodness; thus it directly represents and de- seem. 

scribes his gracious disposition toward us. And as 
for examples, (which must serve as to illustrate and 
explain, so also to verify and assure matters of this 
nature,) if we carefully attend to God's ordinary 
proceedings with men there recorded, we shall find Luke ■"• 
this disposition very conspicuous in them. Who 
can recount the number, or set out the value of 
those instances wherein God's goodness is expressed 
toward such as loved him? of his admirable conde- 
scension in drawing them to him; of the affection- 
ate tenderness with which he constantly embraced 
them; of his merciful indulgence toward them, 
when provoked by their untowardly behaviour ; of 
his kind acceptance, and munificent recompensing 
their endeavours to please him; of his deep com- 
passionating their sufferings ; of his vigilant careful- 
ness over them, and over all their concernments? 
Methinks the highest expressions that language, 
assisted with all its helps of metaphor and re- 
semblance, can afford, are very languid and faint 
in comparison of what they strain to represent, 
when the goodness of God toward them who love 
him comes to be expressed : As the heaven is high Ps . c iii. 
above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them ^; 6 . 
that fear him: like as a father pitieth his chil- 
dren, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him : so 
David strives to utter it, but with similitudes far 
short of the truth. If any will come near to reach 
it, it is that in Moses and Zechariah, when they are Deu t. 
compared to The apple of God's eye, that is, to the™^ 
most dear and tender part, as it were, about him. 

We find them often styled, and ever treated, John xv . 
as friends and as children ; and that in a sense 2 6hron. 

xx. 7. 

502 Of the Goodness of God. 

serm. transcending the vulgar signification of those words ; 

' — for, what friendship could endure, could pass over, 

could forget, could admit an entire reconciliation 
and re-establishment in affection after such heinous 
indignities, such infidelities, such undutifulness, as 
were those of Adam, of Noah, of David, of Peter? 
Who would have received into favour and familiarity 
a Manasses, a Magdalen, a Paul? "Who would so 
far extend his regard upon the posterity (upon such 
a posterity, so untoward, so unworthy) of his friend, 
as God did upon that of Abraham, in respect unto 
him? What great prince would employ his princi- 
pal courtiers to guard and serve a poor attendant, 
p 8 . xxxiv. a mean subject of his ? Yet, The angel of the 
Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, 
and deliver eth them; and many instances we have 
of those glorious inhabitants of heaven by God's 
appointment stooping down to wait upon and to 
perform service to the sons of men. But upon 
examples of this nature, being numberless, and 
composing indeed the main body of the Sacred 
History, (it being chiefly designed to represent 
them,) I shall not insist ; I shall only observe, for 
preventing or satisfying objections, (yea, indeed, 
for turning them to the advantage and confirmation 
of that which we assert,) that even in those cases, 
wherein God's highest severity hath been exercised, 
when God hath purposed to exhibit most dreadful 
instances of his justice upon the most provocative 
occasions; we may discern his goodness eminently 
shewing itself": that even in the greatest extremity 

d I\Wm ^iXmtfpwr/a j ripvpla. oZt<o yap ty rreldoptH Ko\dC<iv 
ro „ et6v.— Greg. Naz. [Orat. xxxvm. Opp. Tom. i. p. 671 a.J 

'Eyci yap roo-aCrr, V irtpiovviav that <pr,p\ T ^ roS Geou K^epovlas, 

James ii. 

Of the Goodness of God. 503 

of his displeasure, in his acts of highest vengeance, serm. 
Mercy doth KaTa.Kavxa.a9ai t?i<s Kplaews, (as St James 
speaketh,) boast itself, and triumph over justice: J t 
that God, as the sun, (to use Tertullian's simili- 
tude) when he seems most to infest and scorch us, 
doth even then dispense useful and healthful influ- 
ences upon us e Even, I say, in the most terrible 
and amazing examples of divine j ustice (such as were 
the ejecting and excluding mankind from Paradise ; 
the general destruction in the Deluge ; the exscind- 
ing and extirpation of the Amorites, together with 
other inhabitants of Canaan ; the delivering Israel 
and Judah into the Assyrian thraldom; the final 
destruction of Jerusalem, together with the disper- 
sion of the Jewish nation over the world, and its 
sad consequences) we may (not hardly) observe 
particulars, more than savouring of great mercy 
and goodness f . 

i That (in most of these cases, in all according 
to some account) God was not moved to the dis- 
pleasure productive of those effects but upon very 
great considerations : that he did not seek advan- 
tages, nor embrace all occasions ; but was incensed 
by superlative degrees of iniquity and impurity, 
(such in their own nature, and much aggravated 
by their circumstances,) such as rendered common 
life inconvenient and insupportable to men; made 

as pr) jxovov d(p' mv lTipr)<rev, aXKa koi dcp' av etcoKacrev, opoiws ijpas 

hvvacrBai rfjv dya6oTr)Ta avrov buKVvvai, Kairrjv (pikavdpanriav. Chrys. 

'AkS/j. C' [Opp. Tom. VI. p. 511.] 

'O Geos dnadrjs &v, Kqv evepyerfj, Kqv KoXafo, ofioims Zotiv aya66s. 
— Id. ibid. [p. 512.] 

e Unicus sol est, O homo, qui mundum hunc temperat; et 
quando non putas optimus et utilis, et quum tibi acrior et infes- 
tior, &c. — Tertul. con. Marc. n. 2. [Opp. p. 381 b.] 

f Vide Chrys. Opp. Tom. vi. Or. vin. p. 63. optime. 

504 Of the Goodness of God. 

sekm. the earth to stink with their filth and corruption; 
— to groan under the burden and weight of them ; to 

pant and labour for a riddance from them. 

2 That God did not upon the first glimpses of 
provocation proceed to the execution and discharge 
of his wrath, but did with wonderful patience ex- 

isai, xxx. pect a change in the offenders, Waiting to be gra- 
cious, as the Prophet speaketh ; affording more than 
competent time, and means more than sufficient of 
appeasing him by repentance; vouchsafing frequent 
admonitions, solicitations, threatenings, moderate 
corrections, and other such proper methods conduc- 
ing to their amendment and to their preservation. 

3 That the inflictions themselves, how grievous 
soever in appearance, were not really extreme in 
measure ; not accompanied with so acute torments, 
nor with so lingering pains, nor with so utter a 
ruin, as might have been inflicted; but that (as 
Ezra, in respect to one of those cases, confesseth) 

Ez. ix. 13. they were less than their iniquities deserved: that, 
Ps. lxxviii. as it is in the Psalm, He did not stir up all his 

wrath; which would have immediately consumed 

them, or infinitely tormented them. 

4 That (consequently upon some of those pre- 
mises) the afflictions brought upon them were in a 
sort rather necessary than voluntary in respect of 
him ; rather a natural fruit of their dispositions and 
dealings, than a free result of his will ; however, 
contrary to his primary intentions and desires. 

Ezekxvhi. Whence he no less truly than earnestly disclaims 
L^iV' navin £ an y P leasure in their death, that he afflicted 
3™'"'' willingly, or grieved the children of men; and 
H08.X111.9. c h ar g es tlieir di sasters U p 0n themselves, as the sole 
causes of them. 

Of the Goodness of God. 505 

5 That, further, the chastisements inflicted were seem. 
wholesome and profitable, both in their own nature, 

and according to his design 8 ; both in respect to 
the generality of men, (who by them were warned, 
and by such examples deterred from incurring the 
like mischiefs ; were kept from the inconveniences, 
secured from the temptations, the violences, the 
allurements, the contagions of the present evil state; 
according to that reason alleged for punishments of 
this kind: All the people shall hear, and fear, and Deut. xvii. 
do no more presumptuously,) and in regard to the 
sufferers themselves, who thereby were prevented 
from proceeding further in their wicked courses 11 ; 
accumulating (or Treasuring up, as the Apostle Bom. ii. 5. 
speaketh) further degrees of wrath, as obdurate 
and incorrigible people will surely do : ( Why, saith isai. i. 5; 


the Prophet, should ye be stricken any more? (to 
what purpose is moderate correction ?) Ye will re- 
volt more and more.) That he did with a kind of 
violence to his own inclinations, and reluctancy, 
inflict punishments on them : Ephraim, how Hos. xi. 8. 
shall I give thee up, Ephraim ! Yea further : 

6 That, during their sufferance, God did bear 
compassion toward them who underwent it : His isai. lxiii. 
bowels, as we are told, sounded and were troubled; Hos.'xi. 8. 
his Heart was turned within him ; his Repentings *; XXM " 
were kindled together; In all their afflictions himself ^-^ 3; 
was afflicted; He remembered, and considered they ^«jj- 14; 
were but dust; that They were but flesh, (that they 
were but of a weak and frail temper; that they were 

» Chrys. 'Avdp. C '. [Opp. Tom. vi. p. 511— 13. J 
'Ofiov Kai dtKaa-rrjs (cat larpos koi 8iSao-/caX6y eoriv o Qfos. 
Ibid. [p. 513.] 

h 'En-iTiftjo-t rrjv npcopiav, ov r&v airekOovrav diravrov dUrjv, aWa 
ra fiiXkovra SiopOovpevos. — Chrys. Tom. VIII. p. 99. 

506 Of the Goodness of God. 

seem, naturally prone to corruption and evil,) and did 
— ~- -- therefore pity their infirmity and their misery. 
Hab. iii. 2. 7 That God in his wrath remembered mercy, 

Gen. vi. 3; ' . . . 

viii. 21. (as the prophet Habakkuk speaks,) mixing gracious 

u;xxxiii'. intentions of future refreshment and reparation 
with the present executions of justice. / know, 
saith he in the prophet Jeremiah, the thoughts that 
I think toward you; thoughts of peace, and not of 
evil, to give you an expected end. Behold, I will 
bring health and cure, I will cure them, and will 
reveal unto them abundance of peace and truth. 

isai. Uv. 7. And, For a small moment, saith he again in Isaiah, 
have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I 

Ezek. xiv. gather thee. And, Ye shall be comforted concerning 
the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem — and, 
Ye shall know that I have not done without cause all 
that I have done in it, saith the Lord; (he saith so 
in Ezekiel;) without cause, that is, without a bene- 
ficial design toward them. 

8 Lastly, That he always signified a readiness 
to turn from his anger, and to forgive them ; and 
upon very equal and easy terms to be fully recon- 

p 8 . ciii. 9 . ciled to them : according to that in the Psalm, He 

doth not always chide, neither will he keep his anger 

for ever; but upon any reasonable overtures of 

humiliation, confession, and conversion to him, was 

ready to abate, yea, to remove the effects of his 

i-cix. 8. displeasure : Thou wast a God that forgavest them, 
though thou tookest vengeance of their inventions. 

These particulars, if we attentively survey those 
dreadful examples of divine severity fore-mentioned, 
(the greatest which history acquaints us with, or 
which have been shewed on this theatre of human 
affairs,) we may observe most of them in all, all of 

Of the Goodness of God. 507 

them in some, either plainly expressed, or suffi- seem. 
ciently insinuated by the circumstances observable XLIX - 
in the historical narrations concerning them; so 
that even the harshest instances of God's wrathful 
dealing with some men, may well serve to the 
illustration of his mercy and goodness toward all 
men; may evince it true, what our Lord affirms, 
that, God, IS ^ptjaro^ ctti tovs dxapiarovs ml irovrjpovs, Luke vi. 

kind and beneficent even to the most ingrateful and 35 ' 
unworthy persons. To make which observation 
good, and consequently to assert the verity of our 
text (that, God is good unto all, and merciful over 
all his works) against the most plausible exceptions, 
let us examine the particulars. 

I. The punishment inflicted on mankind for the 
first transgression containeth in it much of depth 
and mystery, surpassing perhaps all capacity of 
man to reach; its full comprehension being by 
divine wisdom, I conceive, purposely concealed from 
us ; so that I cannot pretend thoroughly to explain 
it; and shall not therefore speak much about it. 

This, indeed, is clear, that God did in his pro- 
ceedings, occasioned thereby, intend remarkably to 
evidence his grievous resentment and indignation 
against wilful disobedience ; yet in the management 
thereof we may observe, that, 

i After that provocation (in itself so high, 
and liable to so great aggravations) God did express 
his resentment in so calm and gentle a manner 1 , 
that Adam, though abashed upon the conscience 
of his fault, was not yet by the vehemency of the 
reproof utterly dismayed or dejected. 

1 Vid. Chrys. 'Avbp. f . [Opp. Tom. vi. pp. 512, 513.] 
Ok yap «jre, KaOdirep etKos tfv v^picrfievov UTreiv, a> (iiape, Km 
Trafifiiape, &c. — [Ibid. p. 512.] 

508 Of the Goodness of God. 

seem. 2 God used great moderation in the infliction 

— of this punishment ; mitigating the extremity of 

the sentence justly decreed and plainly declared to 
Gen. ii. 17. Adam, (that, in case of his offending against the 
law prescribed him, he should immediately die,) for 
notwithstanding his forfeiture that very day of life, 
God reprieved him, and allowed him a long life, 
almost of a thousand years, after. 

3 God did not quite reject man thereupon, 
nor did withdraw his fatherly care and providence 
from him, but openly continued them; insomuch 
that, immediately after the curse pronounced upon 
our first parents, the next passage we meet with is, 

Gen. iii. 21. that, Unto Jidam and his wife did the Lord God 
make coats of skins, and clothed them. 

4 Although, indeed, man was by his fault a 
great loser, and became deprived of high advan- 
tages ; yet the mercy of God did leave him in no 
very deplorable estate, simply considered, as to his 
life here; the relics of his first estate, and the bene- 
fits continued to him, being very considerable; so 
that we, the inheritors of that great disaster, do 
commonly find the enjoyment of life, with the con- 
veniences attending it, to be sweet and desirable. 

5 The event manifests, that while God in 
appearance so severely punished mankind, he did 
in his mind reserve thoughts of highest kindness 
toward us ; even then designing not only to restore 
us to our former degree, but to raise us to a capa- 
city of obtaining a far more high pitch of happiness. 
While he excluded us from a terrestrial paradise 
here, he provided a far better celestial one, into 
which, if we please, by obedience to his holy laws 
we may certainly enter. So that in this of all most 

Of the Goodness of God. 509 

heavy instance of veng-eance, God's exceeding: good- seem. 
ness and clemency do upon several considerations - 

most clearly shine. 

II. The calamity, which by the general Deluge 
did overflow the world, was not (we may consider) 
brought upon men but in regard to the most enor- 
mous offences long continued in, and after amend- 
ment was become desperate: not till after much 
forbearance, and till men were grown to a superla- 
tive pitch of wickedness, by no fit means (by no 
friendly warning, no sharp reprehension, no mode- 
rate chastisement) corrigible: not until the earth 
was become (especially for persons of any innocence 
or integrity) no tolerable habitation, but a theatre 
of lamentable tragedies, a seat of horrid iniquity, a 
sink of loathsome impurity. So that in reason it 
was to be esteemed rather a favour to mankind to 
rescue it from so unhappy a state, than to suffer it 
to persist therein. To snatch men away out of so 
uncomfortable a place, from so wretched a condition, 
was a mercy; it had been a judgment to have left 
them annoying, rifling, and harassing the world; 
biting, tearing, and devouring; yea, defiling and 
debauching each other; and so heaping upon them- 
selves loads of guilt, and deeper obligations to 
vengeance. The earth, saith the text, was corrupt GenM. n, 
before God; and the earth was filed with violence. 
God looked upon the earth, and behold it was cor- 
rupt; for all flesh had corrupted its way upon the 
earth ; which universal and extreme corruption had 
not in probability sprung up in a small time; (for, 

Nemo repente fuit turpissimus k , 

is true not only of single men, but of communities ; 

k [Juv. Sat. ii. 83.] 

510 Of the Goodness of God. 

serm. no people, no age doth suddenly degenerate into 
extreme degrees of wickedness;) so that the divine 

patience had long endured and attended upon men 
before the resolution of thus punishing them was 
taken up ; the which also was not at first peremp- 
tory and irreversible, but in God's design and 
desire it was revocable; for the world had a long 
reprieve after the sentence passed; execution was 
deferred till Noah's long preaching of righteousness, 
and denouncing of judgment in a manner so noto- 
rious and signal, (not by verbal declarations only, 
but by the visible structure of the ark,) could pre- 
vail nothing toward their amendment, but was 
either distrusted or disregarded, and perhaps derided 

i Pet. m. by them. For, as St Peter tells us, They were dis- 

l Pet. ii. «. obedient, when once the long suffering of God waited 
in the days of Noah, while the ark was preparing ; 
that is, (as is collected by several interpreters from 

Gen. vi. 3. the text of the story,) during no less than one hun- 
dred and twenty years; a competent time for 
their recollecting themselves, and endeavouring by 
amendment of life to prevent the ruin threatened 
to come upon them. Yet notwithstanding that, 
this obstinate and incorrigible disobedience did so 
much displease God, as that in consideration thereof 

vi. 6. God is said to have repented that he made man on 
the earth, and to have been thereby grieved at the 
heart : yet did he so temper his anger as not utterly 
to destroy mankind, but provided against its total 
ruin, by preserving one family as a seminary there- 
of; preserving the father thereof (questionless by 
a special grace) from the spreading contagion, in- 
spiring him with faith, and qualifying him for the 
favour, which by him he designed to communicate 

Of the Goodness of God. 511 

unto the world; the reparation thereof, and restor- seem. 
ing the generations of men. So that also through XLIX ' 
this passage of providence, how dismal and dread- 
ful soever at first sight, much goodness will be 
transparent to him that looks upon it attentively. 

III. In the next place, as to that extermination 
and excision of the Canaanites, which carries so 
horrible an appearance of severity, we may find it 
qualifiable, if we consider, that for the nature of the 
trespasses which procured it, they were insufferably Lev. xviii. 
heinous and abominable: most sottish, barbarous, 
and base superstitions, (cruelty and impurity being 
essential ingredients into their performances of Be- 
ligion, and it being piety with them to be exceed- 
ingly wicked,) and, in their other practice, most 
beastly lasciviousnesses, most bloody violences, op- 
pressions, and rapines generally abounding. So 
that for those men themselves, who were by turns, 
as it happened, the authors and the objects of these 
dealings, it could not be desirable to continue in a 
state of living so wretched and uncomfortable. 
Impunity had been no mercy to such people, but 
rather a cruelty; cutting them off must needs be 
the greatest favour they were capable of, it being 
only removing them from a hell here, and prevent- 
ing their deserving many worse hells hereafter. 
Even to themselves it was a favour, and a greater 
one to their posterity, whom they might have 
brought forth to succeed into their courses, and to 
the consequences of them ; whom they would have 
engaged into their wicked customs, and their woful 
mischiefs. They were not so destroyed from the 
land, until it grew uninhabitable in any tolerable 
manner, and itself could not, as it were, endure 

512 Of the Goodness of God. 

seem, them any longer, but (as the text doth most signi- 
XLIX ' ficantly express it) did spue them out; being like a 

Lev. xviii. stomach surcharged with foul or poisonous matter, 
which it loathes and is pained with, and therefore 
naturally labours to expel. Neither was this sad 
doom executed upon them till after four hundred 
years of forbearance ; for even in Abraham's time 
God took notice of their iniquity, then born and 
growing ; and gave account of his suspending their 

Gen. xv. punishment ; Because, said he, the iniquity of the 
Amorites was not yet full, (that is, was not yet 
arrived to a pitch of desperate obstinacy and incor- 
rigibility.) while there was the least glimpse of 
hope, the least relics of any reason, any regret, any 
shame in them, the least possibility of recovery, 
God stopped his avenging hand: but when all 
ground of hope was removed, the whole stock of 
natural light and strength was embezzled, all fear, 
all remorse, all modesty were quite banished away, 
all means of cure had proved ineffectual, the gan- 
grene of vice had seized on every part, iniquity 
was grown mature and mellow; then was the stroke 
of justice, indeed, not more seasonable than neces- 
sary; then was the fatal sword the only proper 
remedy ; then so with one stroke to cut off them, 
and their sins, and their mischiefs, and their miseries 
together, was an argument no less strong and clear 
of God's merciful goodness, than of his just anger 
toward them. 

IV The like account we may render of God's 
judgments upon the people of Israel. If we con- 
sult the prophets, who declare the state of things, 
the facts, the dispositions, the guilts, that brought 
them down from heaven, we shall see, that they 

, 5; >-4. 

Of the Goodness of God. 513 

came upon account of an universal apostasy from seem. 
both the faith and practice of true Eeligion ; a deep XLIX ' 
corruption (Like that in the days ofGibeah, as the h os . i*. 9 
prophet Hosea speaketh) in mind and manners; an 
utter perverting of all truth and right; an obstinate 
compliance with, or emulation of the most abomin- 
able practices of the heathen nations about them ; 
an universal apostasy, I say, from God and all good- 
ness; a thorough prevalence of all iniquity. Hear 
the Prophets expressing it, and describing them : 
Jeremiah; Run ye to and fro through the streets ,Ter. v. i. 
of Jerusalem; see now, and know, and seek in the 
broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there 
be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the 
truth; and I will pardon it. Isaiah; The earth Misai. xxiv. 
defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they 
have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinances, 
broken the everlasting covenant: Ah sinful nation I 
a people laden with iniquities, a seed of evil-doers; 
children that are corrupters! They have forsaken the 
Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel 
unto anger; they are gone away backward, &c. Thus 
do these and other Prophets in a like strain describe 
in the gross the state of things preceding those 
judgments. And in Ezekiel (in divers places, par- 
ticularly in the 8th, but especially in the 2 2d chap- 
ter) we have their offences in detail, and by parts 
(their gross impieties, their grievous cruelties, ex- 
tortions, and oppressions) set out copiously, and in 
most lively colours. And as the quality of their 
provocations was so bad, and the extension of them 
so large, so was their condition desperate ; there were 
no means of remedy left, no hopes of amendment ; 
so was their forehead covered with impudence, 
b. s. VOL. III. 33 

514 Of the Goodness of God. 

seem, their heart hardened with obstinacy, their minds 
XLIX ' deeply tinctured with habitual pravity and per- 

jer.xiii.33. verseness: Can the Ethiopian change his shin, or 
the leopard his spots ? then may ye also do good, 
that are accustomed to do evil, saith Jeremiah con- 
cerning them. All methods of reclaiming them had 
proved fruitless ; no favourable dealings, no gentle 
admonition or kind instruction would avail any 
thing; for it is of them the prophet Isaiah saith, 
isai. xxvi. Let favour he shewed to the wicked, yet will he not 
learn righteousness. No advices, no reproofs (how 
frequent, how vehement, how urgent soever) had 
any effect upon them. Almighty God declares 
jer.xxv.4; often, that he had spoken unto them rising up early, 
but they would not hear nor regard his speech ; did 
not only neglect and refuse, but despise, loathe, 
xxxii. 33 ; mock, and reproach it, (turning their back upon him, 
Zech.'vii. pulling away their shoulder, stiffening their neck, 
Neh. ix. an d stopping their ears, that they should not hear;) 
isai 3 ix'v 1 ^ na, t ne na< ^- s P r ead out his hands all the day long to 
3- a rebellious and gainsaying people; to a people that 

xxxvi. 16. (with extreme insolence and immodesty) provoked 
him to anger continually to his face. Nor could 
jer. iii. 7 ; any tenders of mercy allure or move them : / said 
h; x'viii. ' (God said it in Jeremiah) after all these things, Turn 
i 3 . ,XXVI ' unto me; hut she returned not. Amend your ways 
and your doings, and obey the voice of the Lord your 
God, and the Lord will repent him of the evil that 
Ezck.xviii. he hath pronounced against you. Repent, and turn 
yourselves from all your transgressions, so iniquity 
shall not he your ruin; and innumerable the tike 
overtures we have of grace and mercy to them ; all 

Ter xi »i • wllich ttie y P rou dly and perversely rejected, persist- 
xxxii. 30. ' ing in their wicked courses: they even repelled and 


Of the Goodness of God. 515 

silenced, they rudely treated and persecuted the pro- seem. 
phets sent unto them with messages of kind warning 



and overtures of grace ; so obstructing all access of 
mercy to themselves : They say to the seers, See isai. xxx. 
not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right 
things: so Isaiah reports their proceeding. Which Actsvii.52. 
of the prophets did not your fathers persecute ? so 
St Stephen expostulates with them. Neither were isai. i. 16, 
gentler chastisements designed for their correction Neh. ix. 
and cure anywise available ; they made no impres- 29 ' 
sion on them, they produced no change in them : 
In vain, saith God, I have smitten your children, Jer. n. 30. 
they have received no correction : and, Thou hast v. 3. 
smitten them, but they have not grieved; thou hast 
consumed them, but they have refused to receive 
correction; they have made their faces harder than 
a rock, they have refused to return: and, The isai. ix. 13. 
people turneth not to him that smiteth them, neither 
do they seek the Lord of Hosts. Unto this Karapna- Rom. ix. 
juo9 cts airwXeiav, this perfect fitness, (as St Paul 
speaketh,) this maturity of desperate and irrecover- 
able impiety, had that people grown, not at once 
and on a sudden, but by continual steps of provo- 
cation, through a long course of time, during that 
divine patience sparing them, and by various expe- 
dients striving to recover them. This consideration 
is frequently insisted upon, especially in the prophet 
Jeremiah. The children of Israel and the children Jer. xxxii. 
of Judah have only done evil before me from their xvi.n";xi! 
youth: Since the day that your fathers came forth Lraix. 7. 
out of the land of Egypt unto this day, I have even 
sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily 
rising up early, and sending them; yet they heark- 
ened not unto me, &c. Well then, after so many 


516 Of the Goodness of God. 

serm. hundred years of abused patience, and unsuccessful 
__1_ labour to reclaim them, it was needful that justice 
should have her course upon them : yet how then 
did God inflict it, with what mildness and modera- 
Neh.ix.31.tion, with what pity and relenting? Nevertheless, 
say they in Nehemiah, for thy great mercies' sake 
thou didst not utterly consume them, nor forsake 
them; for thou art a gracious and merciful God: 
Ezraix. 13. and, Thou hast 'punished us less than our iniquities 
Ho*. xi.9. deserve, doth Ezra confess: i" will not execute the 
fierceness of my anger, doth God himself resolve and 
declare in Hosea. So mild he was as to the mea- 
sure of his punishing; and what compassion ac- 
companied it those pathetical expressions declare- 
Hos.xi.8. My heart is turned within me, my repentings are 
jer.xxxi. kindled together. Is Ephraim my dear son? is he 
a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do 
earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels 
isai.ixiii.9; are troubled for him. In all their afflictions he 
was afflicted, &c. We may add, that notwithstand- 
ing all these provocations of his wrath, and abusings 
of his patience, which thus necessitated God to ex- 
ecute his vengeance ; yet even during the execution 
thereof, and while his hand was so stretched forth 
against them, he did retain thoughts of favour, and 
intentions of doing good, even toward this so in- 
Hv. 7. grateful, so insensible, so incorrigible a people: For 
a small moment, saith God, have I forsaken thee; 
Jer. xxix. but with great mercies will I gather thee : I 
r,, '7. ' know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith 
the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give 
you an expected end. Now these things being 
seriously laid together, have we not occasion and 
ground sufficient even in this instance, no less to 

Of the Goodness of God. 517 

admire and adore the wonderful benignity, mercy, ^? M ' 

and patience of God, than to dread and tremble 

at his justice? 

V As for the last so calamitous and piteous 
destruction of Jerusalem, with the grievous conse- 
quences thereof, as we might apply thereto the 
former considerations, so we shall only observe 
what was peculiar in that case ; that God dispensed 
such means to prevent it, (to remove the meritorious 
causes thereof, obstinate impenitency and incredu- 
lity, resisting the truth by him sent from heaven 
with so clear a revelation and powerful confirma- 
tion ; despising the Spirit of God, and the dictates 
of their own conscience; basely misusing divers 
ways, and at last cruelly murdering the Son of 
God ;) such means, I say, God did employ for the 
removing those provocatives of vengeance, which, Matt. xi. 
as our Lord himself saith, were sufficient to have 
converted Tyre and Sidon; yea, to have preserved 
Sodom itself; so that our Saviour could with a com- 
passionate grief deplore the unsuccessfulness of his 
tender affection, and solicitous care for their welfare, 
in these passionate terms: How often would I have «m. 37; 
gathered thy children as a hen gathers her chickens 
under her wing, hut ye would not! That St John the 
Baptist's sharp reproofs, his powerful exhortations, 
his downright and clear forewarnings of what would 
follow, {Even now, said he, the axe is laid to the root m. 10. 
of the tree,) attended with so remarkable circum- 
stances of his person and his carriage, (which in- 
duced all the world about him to regard him as no 
ordinary man, but a special instrument of God 
and messenger from heaven,) did yet find no effect 
considerable: the Pharisees and lawyers, those 

518 Of the Goodness of God. 

serm. corrupt judges, whose authority managed the blind 
multitude, defeating the counsel of God toward 

Luke vii. themselves, as St Luke speaketh, (that is, defeating 

3 °' his gracious purpose of reclaiming them from dis- 

obedience, and consequently of withholding the 
judgments imminent,) they reviled the person of 

Matt. xi. that venerable prophet; He hath a devil, said they : 
they slighted his premonitions, and rejected his 
advices, by observing which, those dreadful mis- 
chiefs, which fell upon their rebellious heads, might 
have been averted. We may add, that even those 
fearful judgments were tempered with mixtures of 
favourable design, not only to the community of 
mankind, (which, by so remarkable a vengeance 
upon the persecutors of our Lord, and the scorners 
of his doctrine, was converted unto, or confirmed 
in the Christian faith,) but even toward that 
people whom it served to convince of their errors 
and crimes; to induce them to repentance, to pro- 
voke them unto the acknowledgment and embracing 
of God's truth, so palpably vindicated by him. So 
that I might here apply that passage of St Paul, 
(if not directly and adequately according to his 
sense, yet with no incongruous allusion at least,) 

Rom. xi. fl ave ffay stumbled, that they should fall f (or, was 
there no other design of God's judgments upon 
them but their utter ruin?) ^ yevoiro' no such 
matter; but through their fall salvation came to the 
Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy (or emula- 
tion). And, in effect, as our Lord in the midst of 
his sufferings did affectionately pray for God's 
mercy upon them, as the Apostles did offer recon- 
ciliation unto them all indifferently who would 
repent, and were willing to embrace it; so were 

: i. 

Of the Goodness of God. 519 

such of them as were disposed to comply with those serm. 
invitations received to grace, how deeply soever XLIX - 
involved in the continued guilt of those enormous 
persecutions, injuries, and blasphemies ; as particu- 
larly St Paul, that illustrious example of God's ^ im - *• 
patience and mercy in this case. So that neither 
by this instance is any attribute of God more sig- 
nalized, than his transcendent goodness, in like 
manner as by the former instances, and in analogy 
to them by all others, that may be assigned. By 
all of them it will appear, that God is primarily and 
of himself disposed to do all fitting and possible 
good to men, not to inflict evil more than is fit and 
necessary; that God is indeed optimus ex natures 
proprietate, most good according to property of 
nature, although Justus ex causce necessitate, severe 
from the necessity of the case, as Tertullian 1 speaketh. 
To afflict men (either some men singly or whole 
societies of men) may be sometimes expedient upon 
several accounts; for vindicating the esteem, and 
supporting the interest of goodness, which may by 
impunity be disgraced, endamaged, endangered; 
for the discrimination of good and evil men in an 
observable manner; for the encouragement and 
comfort of the good, the reduction and amendment 
of the bad; for preventing the contagion, and 
stopping the progress of iniquity, whereupon greater 
guilts and worse mischiefs would ensue : it may be 
as necessary as sharp physic to cure public or pri- 
vate distempers'" ; as an instrument of rousing us 
out of our sinful lethargies; as that which may 

1 De Eesur. Camis. [Cap. xiv. Opp. p. 333 b.] 
m Basil. Orat. Quod Deus non est causa mali, eleganter, et 
pulchre de hac re. 

520 Of the Goodness of God. 

seem cause us better to understand ourselves, and more 
- — -'--- to remember God; as a ground of fearing God, and 
an inducement to believe his providence. For 
those and many such purposes, to bring upon men 
things distasteful to sense may be very requisite ; 
nor doth the doing it anywise prejudice the truth 
of divine goodness, but rather confirms it, com- 
mends it, and advances its just esteem. It would 
be a fond indulgence, not a wise kindness; a cruel, 
rather than a loving pity, to deal otherwise. In 
fine, we are to consider that all the mischiefs we 
undergo, God doth not so much bring them on us 
as we do pull them on ourselves". They are 
wisd.i. 12. AvOalpera -mjnara , Affected, or self-cliosen mischief "s ; 
they are, Kana j3\aa-TtjjuaTa 7rpoaipeaeu>'s, Bad sprouts 
of our free choice, as a Father calls them p ; they are, 
as another Father saith q , 'EkougLwv kukwv to. anovaia 
eayova, The unwilling offsprings of wilful evils; 
they are the certain results of our own will, or the 
natural fruits of our actions ; actions, which (how- 
ever God desire, advise, command, persuade, entreat, 
excite) we do will, we are resolved to perform. 
We in a maimer, as Salvian r saith, do force God to 
do whatever hedoethin this kind; violently plucking 

HavTa Kivti Kai Trpayfiareverai 6 G«os, (Bore dnaWd^ai ko- 
Xacrecos Kai Tifjuopias. Chrys. Opp. Tom. VIII. p. 100. 

Carm. Pythag. [v. 54.] 

Cyril. Hier. [Kokov avrt^ovcriov, /SAatrrjyjtia npoaipecreas. — 
Catech. n. Opp. p. 21 b.] 

q S. Joan. Damas. [DeFide Orthod. Lib. iv.c. 19. Opp. Tom. i. 
p. 289 E.] 

Vim Deo faeimus iniquitatibus nostris Cogimus ad ulci- 
scondas criminum nostrorum immanitates nolentem Deum . . Deus 
enim pius est ao misericors, et qui, ut scriptum est, neminem 
velit perire vel lsedere, &c. — Salv. de Gubern. Dei. [Lib. v. p. 
113] etLib. vni. [p. 186, Ed. Baluz.] 

Of the Goodness of God. 521 

down vengeance on our own heads; compelling the serm. 
hind and merciful Lord, against his nature and L 

will, to afflict us; not so much as giving him leave 
to spare us. God vehemently disclaims himself to 
be the original cause; to design, (according to 
absolute or primary intention,) to desire, to delight 
in our grief, or our ruin. As I live, saith the Lord, Ezek.xvm. 
(and surely when God swears 3 , we may believe that 3° ,xxxm - 
he is very serious,) / have no pleasure in the death 
of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way, 
and live. I call heaven to record this day against Deu t- xxx - 
you, that I have set life and death before you: there- 
fore choose life. He doth not afflict willingly, nor Lam.iii.33. 
grieve the children of men. He would have all men iTim.ii. 4 . 
to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the 
truth. He would not have any perish, but that all 2 Pet.m. 9. 
should come to repentance. He made not death, wisd.i. 13. 
nor hath he pleasure in the destruction of the living. 
God then, if we may believe him, is not the first 
author of our calamities. Who then ? He tells us 
himself: O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself: thou Ho S .xiii. 9; 

. . • -XT -7 X1V - I - 

hast fallen by thine own iniquity. Your sins have j er . v. 25. 
withholden good things from you. Our iniquities, isai.bdv.6. 
like the wind, have taken us away. How often Matt.xxiii. 
would I have gathered you, but ye would not! The 
designs and the endeavours of God do tend to our 
welfare and salvation ; it is our will and our actions 
which only procure our ruin: It is we, that, as the «.i.n. 
Wise Man saith, seek death in the error of our life, 
and pull upon our own selves destruction. So that, to 
conclude this part of our discourse, even those pas- 
sages of Providence, which at first glimpse appear 

* Miseros nos si nee juranti Deo credimus. — Hier. 

522 Of the Goodness of God. 

seem, most opposite or disadvantageous to the goodness 
XLIX - of God 4 , (or to our opinion and belief concerning 
it,) do, being well sifted, nowise prejudice it, but 
rather serve to corroborate and magnify it. 

1 shall only further briefly touch (or rather but 
mention) the uses and effects, to the producing 
which, the consideration of God's goodness, in so 
manifold ways declared, should be applied. 

i It should beget in us hearty love and reve- 
rence toward God, in regard to this attribute so 
excellent and amiable in itself, so beneficial and 
advantageous to us. What can we esteem, what 
can we love, if so admirable goodness doth not 
affect us? How prodigiously cold and hard is that 
heart, which cannot be warmed and softened into 
affection by so melting a consideration! 

2 It should produce, as grateful sense in our 
hearts, so real endeavours of thankful obedience in 

Cui. i. 10. our lives. It should make us Walk worthy of God, 
to all well-pleasing, bringing forth fruit in every 
good work; taking heed of doing as did Hezekiah, 

2 chron. of whom it is said, that, He rendered not according 
to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted 
up: therefore was wrath upon him; that we may 
not have that expostulation justly applied unto us, 

Deut. J) y e tJ lus requite the Lord, foolish people and 
unwise ? 

3 It should engage us the more to fear God; 
iios. iii. 5 . complying with the Prophet's admonition, Fear the 

Lord and his goodness; considering that intimation 

i St Chrysostom in divers places doth insist upon the goodness 
of God in making and threatening hell itself. 

Tfjs /3aa-iXfiay ovk eXarrov, >/ rrjs yctvvrjs aneikr) beiKWcri avroii rf/v 
ayaOoTrjTa, &C. 'Affy). f [Opp. Tom. VI. p. 512.J 

Of the Goodness of God. 523 

of the Psalmist, There is forgiveness with thee, that seem. 
thou may est be feared; observing that advice n f XLIX - 
Samuel, Only fear the Lord, and serve him; for Ps ' cxxx< 
consider what great things he hath done for you. lSam - xii - 
For that, indeed, nothing is more terrible than 
goodness slighted, and patience abused. 

4 It should humble, ashame, and grieve us, for 
having crossed and offended such exceeding good- 
ness and mercy. It should cause us greatly to 
detest our sins, which lie under so heinous an 
aggravation ; to be deeply displeased with ourselves, 
who have so unworthily committed them. 

5 It should therefore render us wary and vigi- 
lant against the commission of any sin; that is, of 
incurring the guilt of so enormous ingratitude and 
baseness ; making us cautious of doing like those, of 
whom it is confessed in Nehemiah ; They did eat, Neh. ix. 
and were filled, and delighted themselves in thy 
great goodness: nevertheless they were disobedient, 

and rebelled against thee, and cast thy laws behind 
their back. 

6 It should also breed and nourish in us faith 
and hope in God. For what reason can we have to 
distrust of so great goodness ; that he will refuse to 
help us in our need ; that he will fail in accomplish- 
ment of his promises; that he will withhold what 
is convenient for us? It should preserve us from 
despair" What temptation can we have to despair 
of mercy, if we heartily repent of our misdoings, 
and sincerely endeavour to please him ? 

7 It should, upon the same account, excite us to 
a free and constant exercise of all devotions. For 

u Vid. Chrys. ad Theod. n. Opp. Tom. vi. p. 63. Optime et 

5:24 Of the Goodness of God. 

serm. why should we be shy or fearful of entering into so 
friendly and favourable a presence? why should we 

Matt. vii. k e k ac k warc [ f rom having (upon any occasion or 
need) a recourse to him, who is so willing, so de- 
sirous, so ready to do us good? what should hinder 
us from delighting in oblations of blessing and 
praise unto him? 

8 It ought to render us submissive, patient, and 
contented under God's hand, of correction, or trial : 
as knowing that it cannot be without very just 
cause that such goodness seemeth displeased with 
us; that we are the chief causes of our suffering or 
our want; so that we can have no good cause to 

Lam. in. repine or complain : for, Wherefore doth the living 
39 ' man complain ? since a man (suffers) for the punish- 

Jer. v. 2=. ment of his sins; since it is our sins that withhold 
good things from us : since also we considering this 
attribute may be assured, that all God's dispensa- 
tions do aim and tend to our good. 

9 It should also, in gratitude toward God, and 
imitation of him, engage us to be good, kind, and 
bountiful, placable, and apt to forgive; meek and 
gentle, pitiful, and affectionate toward our brethren ; 

.4, 36.' to be good and merciful, as our heavenly Father is 
j 6 _° m * merciful and benign even toward the wicked and 
Coioss. 111. ungrateful; to be kind unto one another, full of 
E P h. iv. bowels, forgiving one another, as God for Christ's 

sake hath forgiven us. 

1 o Lastly, we ought to have an especial care of 

perverting this excellent truth by mistakes and vain 
jude 4 . presumptions ; that we do not turn the grace of God 

into wantonness, or occasion of licentious practice. 

Because God is very good and merciful, we must 

not conceive him to be fond, or slack, or careless ; 

Of the Goodness of God. 525 

that he is apt to indulge us in sin, or to connive at seem. 


our presumptuous transgression of his laws. No ; 

Everett T(! ayaOw, r\ dyaOoi', t] /nicroTrovrip'ia, The 

hatred of wickedness is consequent upon goodness 
even as such, as Clemens Alexandrinus saith x God, 
even as he is good, cannot but detest that which 
is opposite and prejudicial to goodness; he cannot 
but maintain the honour and interest thereof; he 
cannot, he will not endure us to dishonour him, 
to wrong our neighbour, to spoil ourselves. As he 
is a sure friend to us as his creatures, so he is an 
implacable enemy to us as impenitent rebels and 
apostates from our duty : The wicked, and him that Ps. xi. 5. 
loveth violence, his soul hateih. As he is infinitely 
benign, so he is also perfectly holy, and of purer Hab.i. 13. 
eyes than to behold iniquity. He is not a God that p s . v . 4,5. 
hath pleasure in wickedness, neither shall evil dwell 
with him. The foolish shall not stand in his sight; 
he hateih all workers of iniquity. His face is against xxxiv. 16. 
them that do evil. Finally, as God is gracious to all 
such as are capable of his love, and qualified for his 
mercy; so he is an impartial and upright Judge, 
who will deal with men according to their deserts, 
according to the tenor of his laws and ordinances ; 
according to his immutable decree and word: so 
that as we have great reason to trust and hope 
in him, so we have no true ground to presume 
upon him, vainly to trifle, or insolently to dally 
with him. 

But I leave this point to be further improved 
by your meditations. 

x ["En-ereu ro> ayada, y (j}v<rei dyado's, -q ^.icronovrjpia. — Pscrlag. 
Lib. 1. cap. viii. Opp. Tom. i. p. 140.J 

526 Of the Goodness of God. 

seem. Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that the 
words which we have heard this day with our out- 
ward ears, may through thy grace be so grafted 
inwardly in our hearts, that they may bring forth 
in us the fruit of good living, to the honour and 
praise of thy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord.